New Brunswick Athletics Programs Face Uncertain Future After Abrupt Change

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ–The Board of Education has been interviewing candidates to take over as Athletic Director after demoting Craig Lowery on October 15 following a scandal that cost the football team four victories.

Since the abrupt change, Business Administrator Richard Jannarone has been filling in for Lowery as interim Athletic Director, but he too will be replaced very soon.

“Our interim athletic director will be starting on [November 25]… freeing up Mr. Jannarone to go back to his more important business,” said Patricia Sadowski, the chair of the board’s athletics committee.

Jannarone and Sadowski have not identified who the new interim AD will be, and have not responded to multiple inquiries from New Brunswick Today.

The changes come after a problematic season for the New Brunswick High School football program.

The team’s last winning record was in 2015.  But this year they started out 4-0 before losing to fourth-ranked North Brunswick High School on October 4.

As we reported, the team went from a playoff-poised 4-1 record following that loss to 0-5 after news broke that the Zebras would be forced to forfeit their first four victories for using an ineligible player.

It came to light that the ineligible player had lived in New Brunswick his entire life and although he was ruled ineligible to play, exceptions could have been made if a waiver had been secured from the NJ State Interscholastic Association (NJSIAA).

This infuriated parents, especially Monica Rivera, the mother of the player who made attempts to clarify his eligibility to play as early February when he transferred to New Brunswick High School.

A waiver was signed by his former school Bishop Ahr High School after he transferred.

According to time-stamped emails obtained by New Brunswick Today, an email chain between Rivera and Lowery discussing the matter, Lowery assured her that her son would be able to play.

After not receiving a response from NJSIAA, Lowery told Rivera, “I haven’t heard from them so I’m going to say it is safe to say he will be eligible effective immediately”

His assumption was not correct and Rivera’s son was ruled ineligible to play for the first 30 days of the season, negating the Zebras’ impressive start.

Board of Education attorney George Hendricks told New Brunswick Today he filed a formal request for a waiver under the rule on October 10, but added that it would have helped if he had known about the situation earlier.

Lowery was relieved of his post as Athletic Director of new Brunswick High School on October 15 and will be reassigned in the district.

Lowery, who has been with the district since September 2002, is still on the payroll though he has been stripped of the Athletic Director title.  As of September 1, his salary was $124,116.72.

Sadowski was the only board member to vote “no” on the personnel change.

 

Reporter at New Brunswick Today