The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association grew out of a meeting on September 27, 1918, in the Council Chambers of City Hall in Newark, New Jersey, at which time the 50 representatives from 21 secondary and private schools of the State appointed a temporary committee comprised of Walter E. Short, then director of athletics in the Newark schools, then sportswriter G.A. Falzer of The Newark Sunday Call and E.C. MacArthur of Peddie School. On November 8, 1918, with 32 schools represented, a constitution was adopted, and the organization to be known as the New Jersey Football Association elected E.C. MacArthur as its first president. The success of this group, although confining all of its efforts to football, encouraged the administrators and coaches of other interscholastic sports to call for a reorganizational meeting on March 28, 1919, at which time the name was changed to the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association.
State champions were declared in football in 1918; basketball, baseball, and track were added to the championship group in 1919; and in the fall of that year cross-country was also included. The championship picture has been enlarged. Presently, the NJSIAA conducts State Championships in thirty-three sports, including sixteen for girls.
From 21-member schools in 1918, the NJSIAA has grown to over 430 members in 2016. The Executive Committee, originally comprised of 5 members, now numbers; 21 representing the public high schools, 4 representing the non-public schools, 12 serving as ex-officio members and 12 at-large representatives. In 1965, Jr. High Schools were admitted to membership, and in 1967 the activities of the girl’s interscholastic athletics program were approved for guidance by the State Association.
Walter E. Short served the organization as Secretary on a part-time basis from 1918 to 1947, and upon his retirement from the Trenton school system in that year, was appointed to serve in that capacity on a full-time basis until his retirement in 1958. He was succeeded by Norman Mansfield, former Athletic Director at Montclair High School, who served as an interim administrator until 1960 when James G. Growney resigned his position as director of athletics, health and physical education for the West New York schools to become Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the NJSIAA and under his guidance the organization has been acclaimed as a leader in many activities on the national scene. Mr. Growney retired on July 1, 1981.
Succeeded by Robert F. Kanaby, who served as Executive Secretary-Treasurer during the 1980-81 year while Mr. Growney was on leave; continuing as Executive Director until 1993. James C. Riccobono succeeded Robert F. Kanaby as Executive Director, April 1993. In September of 1993, Boyd A. Sands became the sixth Executive Director. Upon Mr. Sands’ retirement on January 10, 2006, Steven J. Timko became the seventh Executive Director of the NJSIAA. Larry L. White succeeded Steven J. Timko as Executive Director, upon Mr. Timko’s retirement, on January 1, 2018, and became the eighth Executive Director.
In 1979, the Legislature adopted Chapter 172 (N.J.S.A. 18A:11-3 et seq.) which provided formal authorization for public school members to join the NJSIAA and authorized the Commissioner of Education to consider appeals from action of the Association. That statute is set forth as follows:
N.J.S.A. 18A:11-3 Voluntary associations regulating conduct of student activities; membership; rules and regulations; appeals.
A board of education may join one or more voluntary associations which regulate the conduct of student activities between and among their members, whose membership may include private and public schools. Any such membership shall be by resolution of the board of education, adopted annually. No such voluntary association shall be operative without approval of its charter, constitution, bylaws, and rules and regulations by the Commissioner of Education. Upon the adoption of said resolution the board, its faculty, and students shall be governed by the rules and regulations of that association. The said rules and regulations shall be deemed to be the policy of the board of education and enforced first by the internal procedures of the association. In matters involving only public-school districts and students, faculty, administrators and boards thereof, appeals shall be to the commissioner and thereafter the Superior Court. In all other matters, appeals shall be made directly to the Superior Court. The commissioner shall have authority to direct the association to conduct an inquiry by hearing or otherwise on a particular matter or alternatively, direct that particular matter be heard directly by him. The association shall be a party to any proceeding before the commissioner or in any court.