The Asbury Park High School football team will kick off their season tonight, but with a severely depleted roster.

Only 18 players will suit up for the Blue Bishop's home opener against Keyport. They are the only members of the team that have been declared academically eligible.

Asbury Park had to forfeit last week's game in Weequahic when a number of players were deemed ineligible by Superintendent Dr. Rashawn Adams.

At the time, Adams called the decision "heartbreaking."

During a press conference on Wednesday, Adams admitted he was not fully aware of the eligibility rules under the policies of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA).

The rules on eligibility require players to have accumulated a minimum number of credits toward graduation, and are not based on real-time grade point averages.

Credits can be made up during summer school sessions, and after a review of player records, three have been deemed eligible. As many as five players are still not eligible, and will likely not become eligible this season.

While Adams announced tomorrow's game would go on as scheduled, he stopped short of proclaiming the season was saved. Given the small number of players that are currently eligible, if a player were to be injured or otherwise unable to play, Asbury Park may not have enough players to meet minimum requirements.

The current situation will require many of the players to play multiple positions on offense, defense and special teams. That raises safety concerns and could increase the risk of injury.

In addition to not being able to field a full team against Weequahic, the Asbury Park Press quoted Adams as saying safety was a concern.

"Sending them to play a team of Weequahic's caliber would have put safety foremost among our student athletes into question," Adams said, "I wasn't going to do that. I had to look at that from a safety and eligibility standpoint."

Eric Scott is the senior political director and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at

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