Big North Conference
Big North Conference, a high school athletic conference in New Jersey. It is one of six North Jersey "super athletic conferences" created by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) in 2009. There are 40 members schools in the Big North Conference, with all members located in either Bergen County or Passaic County, New Jersey.
As high school athletics in New Jersey grew in the 1990's and 2000's, problems began to develop in the organization of leagues and conferences. Transportation costs began to grow, as some conferences had teams from as many as four different counties competing against each other. Other conferences were losing competitive balance, as a growth in non-public school enrollment and athletic programs caused tension between non-public and public schools, with public schools accusing non-public schools of recruiting. Conferences also demanded more flexibility in scheduling, as schools felt locked into league and division schedules against opponents either too weak or too strong for true competitive balance.
The strongest tensions were found in the Northern New Jersey Interscholastic League, where public schools, who were frustrated by the competitive imbalance with non-public schools, especially Don Bosco Preparatory (Ramsey) and Bergen Catholic (Oradell) in football or Immaculate Heart Academy (Township of Washington) in girls' athletics, threatened to secede from the league. Therefore, in 2008 the NJSIAA established a "Leagues and Conferences Realignment Committee" to discuss the need for realigning conferences and leagues throughout New Jersey. Their original proposal for schools in northern New Jersey was the creation of six super conferences from the eleven conferences then in existence. While the original proposal was not accepted as presented, it was adjusted and schools realigned yet again, to create the current system in place in New Jersey athletics.
The current realignment started in the 2010–11 school year, after a one-year transition period, when many Big North members schools were part of the North Jersey Tri-County Conference. The NJSIAA had stated that the present system may only go into effect for two to three years, and after a review of the system, a reversion to the old conference alignment may be possible. Athletic Directors in the conference, however, voted in March 2011 to revise the division alignments within the conference for the 2012-2013 academic years, voted against the transfer of DePaul Catholic High School into the North Jersey Interscholastic Conference and against the inclusion of Pascack Hills High School into the Big North.