Pump the brakes.
That's the viewpoint of at least two Tri-Cities football coaches in reaction to the latest round of proposed conference shuffling.
Wheaton North principal Matt Biscan sent the Daily Herald an email two weeks ago confirming he and Wheaton Warrenville South principal Dave Claypool met with principals from Upstate Eight Conference members Batavia, Geneva, St. Charles East and St. Charles North to discuss forming a new conference. That group, in turn, extended invitations to two other schools to form an eight-member league, Biscan said.
DuPage Valley Conference schools must declare in early December whether they intend to remain or join a new conference for the 2018-19 school year. Thus, the Wheatons face a deadline if they want to make the proposed new league happen in the fall of 2018.
Batavia sixth-year coach Dennis Piron -- whose program since joining the Upstate Eight Conference in 2010-11 has won a state title and appeared in a semifinal and a quarterfinal -- says his school shouldn't feel pressed into making a long-term decision about what is best for the future of its athletic program without exploring more than one option.
"I think the only problem anybody here has with the whole issue as to if conference change is going to happen is that we weren't actively discussing everyday 'Hey, we have to form a new conference. We have to get in a new conference,' Piron said. "So this sort of came out of left field. It isn't like it was something we were looking to do or concerned about.
"Then when everybody starts lumping us in like we're a done deal? Well, how would you feel about people making decisions for you and telling you what's best for you? I'm not saying that it is or isn't a bad idea. I guess what I would say is we aren't in any hurry to do anything if that makes sense.
"If we are, in fact, talking about conference change -- which we aren't initiating or leading and others are lumping us in with them as an afterthought like, yeah, Batavia should do what they do just because -- that's very, I don't know, disrespectful.
"If there's going to be conference change and it's something that's going to happen, something that's inevitable, then we as a community, a school and a staff -- don't we have the right to look at everything that's out there then at that point? Not just one option?
"This particular scenario is truly the dream or push, if you will, of one or two high schools saying 'Hey, why don't you come join us in this new league?' Well, I don't know. We're in a conference right now, aren't we?"
Rob Pomazak, St. Charles North's third-year coach, sees both sides.
"It's an interesting prospect," Pomazak said. "I think there are positives and negatives to it. Obviously, I think it would be a super conference from a football standpoint. The caliber of teams in the conference would be, I think, second to none. I think that from a public-league standpoint there wouldn't be a stronger football conference.
"I'm always curious to see multiple solutions to an issue. By no means is our conference, the Upstate Eight, perfect currently, but I would be interested to see multiple solutions as opposed to just one.
"We'll do whatever the athletic directors decide. I think it'll make our jobs much harder, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's just we put a lot in already so I just wonder what we would stand to gain from it."
Fourth-year St. Charles East coach Bryce Farquhar said he is neither for or against the proposed new league, but he thinks it would solve a problem: finding lower-level teams to play. Because current UEC members like Elgin, Larkin and Streamwood don't have as many participating players, they do not field as many underlevel teams as a Batavia, which operates a freshman "B" team.
"I totally see it as a positive as far as us being able to go top to bottom," Farquhar said, "I agree that will make it more competitive for our lower levels and help prepare them for the varsity level."
Geneva coach Rob Wicinski did not return requests seeking comment.
Piron said he understands why a school like Wheaton Warrenville South doesn't want to remain in the DVC with an enrollment of 2,036 compared to Neuqua Valley's 3,764, Metea Valley's 2,841 and Waubonsie Valley's 2,576.
"What that group of schools did was form an unusual sport conference in which there are no weak games," he said of the current DVC configuration. "Wheaton South (2-6) is not making the playoffs this year but could still go into the playoffs as we know them and win some playoff games. (The proposed conference) is a structure that makes a lot of sense for them. Maybe those they're trying to join deserve the opportunity to find if it makes a lot of sense to them.
"I've been here my whole life. I think what's best for Batavians and what's best for this community is for us to make our own decisions. We've done pretty good here for a long, long time making our own decisions."