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NJ assemblyman responds to PIX11 report on post-high school programs for athletes

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TEANECK, N.J. (PIX11) -- "I had no knowledge of this," this is the reaction of New Jersey Assemblyman Gordon Johnson on Thursday to this week's reports by PIX11 News surrounding prep schools and post-grad programs.

A series that had legendary St. Anthony high school Coach Bobby Hurley offering up the following, "I think all over the country right now there are kids that are and families that are hedging a bet."

As PIX11 News discovered there are many prep and post-grad schools who embrace fifth year students who have already graduated from high school with strong grades as well as NCAA compliant test scores to do one thing, play sports.

"I was already qualified for college and I had good grades and everything," said Armand Cartwright from Coastal Academy after a recent game against St. Anthony. Cartwright who played his senior year last year in the Detroit area was a student-athlete that we met up with who admits to passing on a scholarship from an NCAA Division II school for another year of competition in hopes of a Division I scholarship -- even if comes at the expense of playing against against high schools all over again.

Assemblyman Johnson feels this isn't the way high school sports should be played. "It's kind of unfair. When I think, when you have a recruiter from a college looking at a game where you have the players on one team is older and a bit more mature than the players with the high school, the four-year team."

Johnson, who is the Commerce Committee Chair in the Assembly, also offered up his perspective on a school we showcased, The Robinson School in Irvington, "That is a business."

A school that on its website states that it has facilities that mirror a college campus. It also indicates the post-grad year begins in August, while making note of a daily class schedule. Yet it only shows classes from November to February. Additionally, all students will take 6-12 college level classes which will transfer to any college they attend which had Johnson's asking questions. "The curriculum that I see versus the college credits they say you can achieve doesn't add up either."

As PIX11 News reported, the school is located inside the Chris Gatling Recreation Center in Irvington. Where we found no students, personnel, administrative offices or classrooms.

Coach Vincent Robinson, who established the school in 2010, declined to answer any of our inquiries after a game.

Johnson says that he plans to reach out to other key committee chair in the assembly to examine this practice as well as the lack of oversight surrounding some programs. "I intend to reach out to my colleagues, chairman Pat Diegnan of education and Mila Jasey the chairperson of higher education and sit-down and talk with them about this, which I am sure they may not even know about this, and to see if there is some oversight that is needed in this, which can be done through legislation."