The latest salvo from deep in the jungle: The organization's release of e-mail exchanges that show that state assemblyman John Burzichelli (D., Gloucester) and New Jersey School Boards Association officials were mapping out a post-NJSIAA future for high school sports before the State Commission of Investigations finished its audit of the NJSIAA in September.
That's no shock. Burzichelli has been talking about dismantling the NJSIAA for more than a year. He sent the organization a letter on Feb. 26, 2010 that threatened as much.
Plus, the back-room maneuvering and the interest by NJSBA officials in trying their hand at running wrestling tournaments in Atlantic City are beside the point.
This is the point: The war is over.
The law is the law.
Lower ticket prices are here to stay.
Some NJSIAA officials can't seem to come to terms with that. There were a lot of good people in the room at the executive committee meeting Wednesday - people who have devoted much of their lives to supporting student athletes – who still seem to think the clock can turn back to 2009.
They talk about victory in the court of public opinion and promoting the message that the NJSIAA does wonderful stuff with regard to scholarships and opportunities for thousands of athletes.
That's great. That's true. But it will snow for three days in a row in Cancun before state legislators - in this day and age, in this economic climate - repeal a law that keeps down prices for the public to watch high school games.
That's not happening.
There's no going back to the days before January 2010, when the law that Burzichelli sponsored three years earlier went into effect. The law limits what the NJSIAA can charge for ticket prices to tournament events to what schools charge for regular-season events, with some exceptions.
Once more, with feeling: That's the law.
NJSIAA officials might not like it – in fact, they loathe it – but they have to live with it.
It's really that simple. NJSIAA officials need to find a way to operate with lower ticket prices. They need to continue to streamline expenses. They need to acknowledge the fiscal reality of 2011.
They've made an effort. They've adopted many of the SCI report's recommendations. They've hired a business manager. They've cut a highly paid director's position. They've nipped and tucked.
They just need to make more progress, whether it's further reductions in salaries and benefits or some downsizing of the scope of some programs.
Because when they figure out a way to align costs with reduced revenues, this crisis that engulfs the organization will go away.
No more bitter battles with Burzichelli. No more doomsday scenarios. No more threats of the destruction of a venerable, 93-year-old organization.
"The world will keep spinning," Burzichelli said Wednesday. That was his way of noting that he'll turn his attention elsewhere if the NJSIAA finds a way to live with lower ticket prices.
He won't come out and say that, of course. Politically, he has to keep pointing out that he has pending legislation that would transfer oversight of scholastic sports to the NJSBA.
But that bill has been sitting in cold storage for months. It's a deterrent, a weapon no one wants to see unleashed.
Besides, the war is over.
Somebody tell the NJSIAA to come out of the cave and make the most of the peace.
Contact staff writer Phil Anastasia at 856-779-3223 or firstname.lastname@example.org.