Thanks to approval by the Glenbard District 87 school board, Glenbard South will move from the Metro Suburban Conference to the Upstate Eight Conference beginning in the 2018-19 school year.
School representatives made a presentation regarding the move at the board's Feb. 6 meeting, and at Tuesday's meeting the board voted in favor of allowing Glenbard South to end an eight-year affiliation with the MSC and join the UEC.
"Once we left the meeting on the sixth we had a feeling it would be approved," said Glenbard South athletic director Tim Carlson. "Plus we had the support of (District 87 superintendent David Larson). I think the board was comfortable with what we presented."
St. Francis, meanwhile, announced Friday that in 2018-19 it will join the MSC with Aurora Christian, Bishop McNamara and Rosary. Timothy Christian's Jack LeGrand, the MSC president of athletic directors, confirmed the league's expansion, something the Daily Herald reported on earlier this month.
"We still have some details to figure our with divisions and other logistics, but we're moving forward," LeGrand said. "We're just very excited about the addition of four great schools."
Carlson said Glenbard South's move wouldn't have been pursued if current UEC members Batavia, Geneva, St. Charles East and St. Charles North hadn't announced it was leaving the league to form the DuKane Conference with Glenbard North, Lake Park, Wheaton North and Wheaton Warrenville South from the DuPage Valley Conference.
With those four schools removed from the mix, Glenbard South suddenly matched up well with the remaining nine UEC schools despite being much smaller at 1,201 students, according to the IHSA. Carlson said 80 percent of the students at Glenbard South participate in school athletics or activities.
Most important is that the levels of competition match Glenbard South's needs better in the UEC. Carlson stressed, for example, that only five MSC schools play freshman baseball while the entire UEC competes at that level.
In the UEC the Raiders also have the opportunity to redevelop rivalries with fellow former DVC members Glenbard East and West Chicago.
"Where we see ourselves as a program going forward, this was the best move for us," Carlson said. "When this opportunity presented itself, it's something we definitely needed to look at."
Carlson said he'll begin attending UEC athletic director meetings next week. Scheduling and divisions will be main discussion points as the UEC for 2018-19 stands at 10 schools with remaining members Bartlett, East Aurora, Elgin, Glenbard East, Larkin, South Elgin, Streamwood, West Aurora and West Chicago.
When the move happens, according to Carlson it'll be Glenbard South's sixth conference affiliation since 1972. The Raiders obviously hope the UEC becomes a more permanent home.
"It was kind of the perfect storm of events for this to happen," Carlson said. "(The UEC is) excited about it. We're excited about it. We're ready to move forward in 2018."
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