EDISON - Sports Authority will sell some or all of its assets rather than trying to reorganize under bankruptcy protection, the company announced.

Initially, the sporting goods chain, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March, said it would close or sell about a third of its 463 stores but stay open as a streamlined company.

But in court filings last week the company's lawyers said it would instead try to sell off its assets.

There are currently 21 Sports Authorities in New Jersey. Five have already been instructed to close, but if all of them go it could mean hundreds of New Jersey citizens would be out of work.

The reason for Sports Authority’s $1.1-billion debt is mainly due to competition from the other sporting goods stores like Dicks Sporting Goods, Modells, as well as online shopping.  Consumer experts have found evidence that shopping habits are evolving as customers looking for team sportswear flock online instead of the local sports store

Sports Authority Holdings Inc. made its Chapter 11 filing in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.

A public auction will be held on May 16 to see if a buyer is interested in purchasing the Sports Authority franchise.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.