2006-05-12 / Sports

Jets Hofstra Relocation First Step In Move To Jersey

By Brian Bohl

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y- Starting in 2008, the Jets will be relocating their training camp and headquarters to Florham Park, New Jersey, ending a partnership with Hofstra University that dates back to 1974.

The campus currently serves as the training complex in the summer and has been the primary base of the franchise's operations since 1990. With the move, the Jets will be moving into a new 110,000-square-foot building as well as a facility with three outdoor fields and one indoors.

''We wanted to be in a community where our employees - not just players, but everyone who works for us - could actually live,'' said. Jay Cross, the Jets' president. "An important thing, too, was to be close to Newark Airport. I can't tell you how much of a downer it is to come home after an away game, even if you win, and then have a two-hour drive to get home. This is a chance to change that.''

Though the move is designed to allow the team to practice closer to their new stadium being built in East Rutherford, many Long Island fans said they will miss seeing their favorite football team conduct training camp locally.

"I'm losing my Jets," said Higgens Lamore, 54, a factory foreman from Roosevelt. "I'm not happy about it. I think they should drop New York from their name when they move, and replace it with New Jersey."

The new stadium in New Jersey, set to open by 2010, will be jointly owned and operated by both the Jets and New York Giants. That agreement came after team owner Woody Johnson could not complete an agreement with New York City to build a new stadium in Manhattan over the west side rail yards.

"I feel that it's payback to New York because they didn't get to build the stadium in the city," Lamore said. "That's why they're moving. It's not going to be the same. It's going to be the New Jersey Jets, not the New York Jets."

Weeb Ewbank Hall, located on the north side of Hofstra University, will continue to house the team's offices for accounting, pro scouting, college scouting, marketing, video operations, business operations and coaches until the team officially leaves in the next 1-2 years, depending on when the new facilities are completed. "I'd prefer them to be here," said Charlie Gaffney, 22, a business owner from Selden. "Why are they going to Jersey? (It) seems kind of fake for them to still be New York. More people see them as the local team then the Giants."

Proximity to the team's new stadium and the larger facility were some of the reasons New York Jets president Jay Cross said his team agreed to the move, though many local fans felt there were other factors to consider.

"I'm sure there's more money in moving to Jersey," said Dave Sadaro, 23, a book seller from Glen Cove. "They've always been a Long Island team. They should stay here. They used to play at Shea."

Sadaro's sentiments were echoed by many fellow Long Island fans. "From a business standpoint, it's probably where the Jets can get more sales," Gaffney said. "I think the stadium deal was also a factor. Some people just don't see Long Island as a viable business spot. I don't think business people take Long Island seriously."

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