Guest Blogger: Terry Small, The New Jersey Athletic Conference Commissioner
I know what you’re thinking when you read that headline.
Only a state like New Jersey could be the setting for iconic (if stereotypical) television programs such as HBO’s The Sopranos or MTV’s Jersey Shore. Only New Jersey could produce top musical talents such as Frank Sinatra, Jon Bon Jovi, or the real New Jersey boss (no disrespect, Tony Soprano)—Bruce Springsteen. Only in New Jersey—home to three major professional sports teams—could half of our state residents (yours truly included) pull for Philadelphia teams instead of our own in-state franchises.
No less important—and another thing that makes New Jersey unique—is the Collegiate Athletic Administrators of New Jersey (CAANJ). Founded in 1984, CAANJ is believed to be the only statewide collegiate athletic organization that includes every higher education institution in the state that sponsors athletics, from four-year schools that compete in NCAA Divisions I, II, and III, to two-year schools that compete in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA).
CAANJ members come together each fall for our annual workshop. We set aside a morning for educational programming followed by an awards luncheon where we honor the top student-athletes and athletic programs from each division within our state. We also present our annual Garden State Award to one deserving athletic administrator who has made enduring and substantial contributions to intercollegiate athletics in the state of New Jersey.
Is it easy to find CAANJ educational topics that are relevant to the athletic departments at both Rutgers University and Sussex County Community College? Certainly not, but at the end of the day, every administrator involved in CAANJ strives to provide all of our student-athletes with the best possible educational and athletic experiences. The CAANJ workshop is a day for us to come together as colleagues to network and celebrate the great intercollegiate athletic accomplishments throughout our state.
With our condensed geography and a large number of institutions of higher education, only a state like New Jersey could pull off an organization like CAANJ.
Only in New Jersey.
You got a problem with that?