Due to a ruling from the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), it has been determined that No. 1 Blair Academy, N.J., will not be able to participate in the Walsh Ironman on December 13 and 14 of this year.
Blair Academy is a member of the NJAIS, an association of independent schools, and not the NJSIAA - which is the "traditional" state governing body. The NJSIAA initial contest date for wrestling is Friday, December 20. The NJAIS does not have such a constraint.
Even though Blair Academy is not a member of a NFHS member association, it does adhere to NFHS rules in the high school wrestling program.
In past years, the Ironman has also been held before the NJSIAA initial contest date, without it being an issue. However, this year it came to be an issue when the NFHS was working with multiple state associations to grant its sanction for the Walsh Ironman.
Events require NFHS sanction if a team is traveling to a non-contiguous state and eight or more schools are involved, or a team is travling to a non-contiguous state if teams from five or more states are in the field. Part of that sanction process is to get the approval from state governing bodies of all schools involved in the event.
In a nutshell, when the NFHS was working through the sanctioning process, one of the state associations objected to Blair Academy being in the field, because of the event being before the designated initial competition date for NJSIAA (even though Blair Academy is not a member of said association). Therefore, in order for that state association to sanction the event for its teams, Blair Academy could no longer be in the field.