Glenbard East cleared the final hurdle in its quest to leave the DuPage Valley Conference for the Upstate Eight Conference.
Behind Monday's 6-1 vote by the Glenbard High School District 87 School Board in Glen Ellyn, Glenbard East will sever its 30-year ties with the powerhouse athletic league in hopes of finding a more competitive situation. Glenbard East is now free to join the UEC, although the vote did not adhere to a specific timeline.
"Obviously, I felt good about the information and the research that we've done," said Glenbard East principal Josh Chambers who, along with athletic director Omar Davis, led the push to join the UEC. "I feel very gratified that the board put their faith in the recommendation that (superintendent David Larson) made and the recommendation we made as an administration."
In November the UEC issued a tandem invitation for Glenbard East and fellow DVC member West Aurora to join in 2014-15. On Jan. 7 West Aurora's school board voted unanimously to leave for the UEC.
The DVC Board of Control, however, ruled that this school year cannot count toward the two-year notice required by league bylaws for schools to announce their departure. The Board of Control specified that schools must notify the DVC by Dec. 1 for that school year to count toward the two-year stipulation.
While that means the schools may be delayed in joining the UEC until 2015-16, Chambers noted that the bylaws allow for early departure if the DVC finds replacement schools in time. A third DVC school, West Chicago, will move from the DVC to the UEC for the 2013-14 school year and be replaced by Lake Park, a current UEC member.
Reached by email on Monday, Batavia's Dave Andrews, president of UEC athletic directors, wrote that Glenbard East and West Aurora first must supply their answers on the 2014-15 invitation before the UEC can respond to the possibility of accepting the schools in 2015-16.
"The big thing is we're going to sit down and work with West Aurora, because this is a package deal, on how we can do this," Chambers said. "We want to get to the Upstate Eight as soon as we can, and at the same time we want to honor the bylaws of the DVC."
Glenbard East's move was recommended by Larson and board president Richard Heim, who at Monday's meeting noted the West Suburban Conference's lack of interest in an expansion that might allow Glenbard East to join that league.
District 87 Board member Thomas Trefilek was the lone dissenting vote. Stressing concern about increased travel in the UEC and the potential of lower gate receipts at athletic events because of a lack of rivals, Trefilek did not view the UEC as a proper fit for Glenbard East.
With Chambers, Davis and several Glenbard East coaches in attendance at Monday's meeting to show support for the move, the item passed easily.
Now it's a matter of Glenbard East, West Aurora, the DVC and the UEC deciding whether the schools will move in 2014-15 or 2015-16.
"We're looking forward to working with the Upstate Eight and joining a new conference," Chambers said.
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