As expected the executive committee of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association approved a proposal Wednesday that continues a recent trend in the sports world by rewarding teams that are at best average. Beginning this fall there will now be five group classifications in football which will allow 32 more teams to qualify for the state playoffs. With a 21-5 vote with three abstentions the executive committee increased not only the number of teams that get to play in the post-season but those teams will now compete for 24 sectional championships instead of 20.

NJSIAA Assistant Director Jack DuBois

, who is in charge of the football playoffs, would say after the vote that the move was made to open up additional opportunities for schools and student-athletes. That all sounds fine except that I and everyone else knows the move was really made for financial reasons. The Athletic Association is in financial trouble because of limitations placed on the ticket prices they can charge for their major revenue-producing events, like the football playoffs.

The change approved yesterday not only means more teams but more games, including 4 additional state sectional finals which will bring in more cash to the NJSIAA’s coffers. What’s just as appalling to me is that to fill 8-team brackets in the 20 public school sections teams with under a .500 record are now eligible. In other words let’s reward mediocrity which is what sports have become anyway in this “every kid has to get the same size trophy” world we live in.

The Major League Baseball season is less than 20% complete so there is plenty of time for things to change. However who would have imagined the Mets would be five games OVER .500 and the Phillies four games UNDER .500 which is where things stand after the Mets swept a 3-game series in Philadelphia for the first time in six years.

As for the Yankees, fans are finding out what life without Mario Rivera might be like. After getting out of a bases-loaded jam Tuesday night David Robertson could not do the same last night as he gave-up 4 runs and a victory to Tampa Bay.