Apparently high school athletic programs assembling “Dream Teams” has become a problem in New Jersey. Assemblymen John Buirzichelli plans to introduce a bill that will make it mandatory for high school athletes to play for their district's school, if that school offers their sport. They will not be allowed to take advantage of the choice program to play at a school that potentially has a better team.

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Personally, I think the student should be able to play wherever they want. Since it’s their bodies and hard work that’s going to be sacrificed, why shouldn’t they be allowed to showcase their talents in the best possible environment? If students are able to get into a different “choice” school for academic reasons, then why shouldn't they be able to do the same for athletics?

Part of the fun of being young is being able to dream. When you’re a student athlete, you dream of making it to the pro level. Some are able to achieve that dream - but in order to do so, you need to be in the best possible position. What if the athlete just wants to play with his friends in another school - why deprive them of that chance?

I’m reminded of Pulitizer Prize winning author Buzz Bissenger's book “Shooting Stars.” The book tells the story of Lebron James and his best friends who had been together since they met on a basketball court at the age of 10. They wanted to stay together, and ended up at St. Vincent-St. Mary, a predominantly white Catholic school. They shunned a mostly black public school whose coach, apparently showing little interest in the diminutive point guard Little Dru, “valued size over the incessant beating of a hungry heart.”

St. Vincent-St. Mary won three state championships, and in 2003 was named the top high school team in the country by USA Today.

If the choice program gives New Jersey’s students the ability to enroll in any school for academic purposes, I see no reason why athletes can't take advantage of that choice as well.

How do you feel about this?