Holy Spirit Wildwood Catholic baseball

Holy Spirit High School baseball team plays Wildwod Catholic, in Absecon, Thursday, May 23, 2019. (VERNON OGRODNEK / For The Press)

ROBBINSVILLE — The opening day for the high school baseball, softball, tennis and boys volleyball seasons will remain April 1 in 2021.

The executive committee of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association voted against a measure that would have shifted that opening date to April 8 next year.

The debate over the matter led to broader questions.

Should the New Jersey high school fall, winter and spring seasons have consistent starting dates? Do the seasons overlap too much? Should there be more of a break between seasons to accommodate three-sport athletes?

The NJSIAA has formed a calendar committee to review these questions and many more.

“It’s a small group that is getting feedback from all stakeholders,” NJSIAA director of finance and administration Colleen Maguire said. “Everyone is ready for a more holistic approach to all of our seasons.”

Maguire said the committee would study the issue for the next eight or nine months.

The goal of the committee is to recommend changes to the NJSIAA calendar. The proposed changes would most likely have to be approved by the executive committee and would not become effective until the 2022-23 high school year at the earliest.

“I don’t have the answers,” Maguire said, “but I know we have a great committee that is invested and interested and getting all the data it can.”

In other news, the NJSIAA announced the football mercy rule will change in the fall.

The clock will now start to run when a team leads by 33 or more points in the second half. Previously, it had started to run when a team led by 35 or more points.

As part of the new rule, the clock will not stop running until a team’s lead dips below 25 points.

Finally, the executive committee upheld a ruling that will keep the University, Newark Tech and Secaucus girls basketball teams out of the state tournament because each team had three players disqualified during on-court incidents last month. NJSIAA rules say that any team in any sport that has three or more players or coaches disqualified for flagrant unsportsmanlike conduct are ineligible for the state playoffs.

University is the defending state Group I champion.

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