St. Augustine Football Practice

St. Augustine's football team prepares for the upcoming season during practice on Wednesday, August 7, 2019. Photo/Charles J. Olson

ROBBINSVILLE — The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association took the first step toward raising its annual member dues Wednesday morning.

The executive committee on first reading approved raising the dues for member schools from $2,150 to $2,500 for the 2020-21 school year. The NJSIAA governs most New Jersey high school sports.

“We just have a revenue problem,” NJSIAA director of finance Colleen Maguire said. “It’s very difficult for us to grow revenue.”

The dues had not been raised since 2010. As is required by a 2010 state law, state Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet approved the increase. Maguire said the NJSIAA lost about $160,000 in 2017-18. Another loss is predicted for the 2018-19 year.

Maguire said NJSIAA expenses increase by as much as 2.5% each school year since 2010. She also noted the organization has recently started girls wrestling and student leadership programs.

“You can only control expenses so much,” she said.

The NJSIAA also plans to increase its tournament entry fees. Team entries for most sports will increase from $80 to $90.

The NJSIAA also worked with state Senator Paul Sarlo, D-Bergen, Passiac, to get state approval for the increases. Sarlo is a member of the NJSIAA executive committee.

PED policy

No New Jersey high school athletes tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2018-19.

The NJSIAA tested 488 athletes — 340 males and 148 females — between October 2018 and May 2019.

The NJSIAA does not release the names of students who were tested. New Jersey began randomly testing athletes for steroids in 2006.

Wrestling finals return to A.C.

The 2020 state individual wrestling championships will be held Thursday, March 5 through Saturday, March 7, 2020 at Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.

The championships are usually held Friday to Sunday, but are being moved up a day to accommodate the Big 10 wrestling championships at Rutgers University. The Big 10 finals are March 8.

“The wrestling fanatics can do the high school round on Saturday and than head up to Rutgers on Sunday,” NJSIAA assistant executive director Bill Bruno said.

Prep linebacker’s eligibility

St. Augustine Prep junior linebacker Angelo Vokolos will be eligible to play Sept. 27.

Vokolos transferred this summer from St. Joseph to St. Augustine Prep.

The NJSIAA was scheduled to hold a hearing on Vokolos’ eligibility Wednesday. But that hearing was canceled after the two schools reached an agreement on when Vokolos could play.

Vokolos will miss the Hermits’ first four games, including a Sept. 21 contest against St. Joe. St. Augustine plays defending South Jersey Group IV champion Shawnee on Sept. 27.

The 6-foot, 200-pound Vokolos made 58 tackles, including 21 tackles for a loss, as a freshman with the Wildcats in 2017. He missed all but one game last season because of a foot injury.

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I've covered high school sports and variety of other events and teams - including the ShopRite LPGA Classic and the Phillies - since 1993.

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