The Daily Herald has learned that after exploring a possible return to the Upstate Eight Conference, Lake Park High School has decided to stay in the DuPage Valley Conference.
In a Tuesday conversation with Pete Schauer, the Lancers’ athletic director confirmed that his school did respond with interest to the UEC’s recent letter of inquiry.
After multiple internal discussions among administrators and coaches, however, Lake Park’s decision was to remain a member of the DVC.
“To cover our bases we had to respond to the Upstate Eight,” Schauer said. “We started thinking about the reasons we made the decision to join the DVC to begin with, and none of that changed.”
Speculation regarding Lake Park’s status began swirling due to numerous developments since the school announced in October of 2012 that it was leaving the UEC for the DVC to replace West Chicago. The Lancers made their DVC debut in August.
Almost exactly a year ago Glenbard East and West Aurora decided to leave the DVC for the UEC beginning next school year, and in the fall the three District 204 schools — Metea Valley, Neuqua Valley and Waubonsie Valley — announced a switch from the UEC to the DVC starting in 2015-16.
Two weeks ago Glenbard North confirmed it was exploring a possible shift from the DVC to the UEC in 2015-16, fueling a belief that neighborhood rival Lake Park may consider joining the Panthers in a return to the UEC.
On Tuesday, Schauer ended all speculation about his school by declaring Lake Park’s intention to stay put.
“There’s something to be said for stability,” Schauer said. “I don’t know that we wanted to change conferences twice in three years.”
As of now, if Glenbard North stays in the fold, the DVC will be a conference of nine schools in 2015-16 while the UEC will consist of 13 schools. The UEC hopes to obtain one or three schools to become an even-numbered league.
Now that Lake Park is out of the mix, it’s more likely the UEC will focus on adding one school instead of three.
Lake Park, meanwhile, is simply happy to be removed from the conversation.
“Frankly, we’re glad to be done talking about it,” Schauer said. “Whether it’s eight or nine schools in a couple years, we’re happy to be part of the DVC.”
Follow Kevin on Twitter @kevin_schmit