Will DeKalb land in the DVC?
You knew it was coming, mainly because it never stops ... the conference changes literally never stop.
Neither does the trickle-down effect, which is what we're seeing now as schools jockey for their next "perfect" landing spot.
This week's Eyes on Five looks at -- what else -- more conference shuffling.
1. Destination ... DVC?:
Let's start with the trickle-down effect.
Neuqua Valley principal Bob McBride, the Board of Control president for the DuPage Valley Conference, confirmed that DeKalb officially applied for membership in the DVC.
The DVC principals and athletic directors are taking it seriously. They went to DeKalb on Thursday to tour the facilities, meet with school leaders, students and key community members, and get a full view of DeKalb's vision as a (hopefully) future member of the DVC.
"As a conference, we were impressed by the school and community commitment to academics, activities and athletics," McBride said. "Based on our visit, we plan to continue our discussion with DeKalb High School about its application to our conference."
We've talked here before about DeKalb being a possibility for the DVC, which now stands with a less-than-ideal five schools: Metea Valley, Naperville Central, Naperville North, Neuqua Valley and Waubonsie Valley.
According to the IHSA, DeKalb has an enrollment of 1,840. That's nearly half the size of Neuqua Valley and about 800 students smaller than Waubonsie Valley, the current smallest school in the DVC.
It's not a perfect match in many ways, including some long road trips. But the choices are limited.
Don't be surprised if DeKalb -- two counties to the west -- becomes the sixth member of the DVC.
2. Destination ... UEC?:
Where were we? Oh yeah ... limited choices.
The DuPage Valley Conference has been turned down by so many conferences and schools, it's actually kind of depressing. A major door slammed shut when West Aurora announced it's leaving the Upstate Eight Conference for the Southwest Prairie Conference at the end of this school year.
Not only did that eliminate West Aurora's possible return to the DVC, it also likely eliminates the possibility of other SPC schools -- Oswego and Oswego East, in particular -- joining the DVC.
DeKalb, meanwhile, is staring down life as an independent next school year.
With the Northern Illinois Big 12 fading away, the Barbs need a home. They hoped it'd be in the UEC but were turned down -- twice, in fact. That includes last week when the UEC chose Fenton as its choice to replace West Aurora starting next school year.
Fenton, DeKalb and Kaneland all applied for membership in the UEC, which could have taken one or all three to stay even. Choosing just Fenton keeps the UEC at one group of 10, although the league is keeping open the possibility of adding two more schools and reverting back to 12 schools in two divisions of six.
Question is, can DeKalb afford to wait?
That answer may rest with the DVC at this point.
3. Destination ... MSC?:
I've got to admit, I did not envision Fenton's move to the Upstate Eight Conference.
The Bison have been a mainstay in the Metro Suburban Conference, a ragtag group of public and private schools that's stayed together in various forms since starting as a four-member public-school league in 2006. In last week's article by Dave Oberhelman, Fenton athletic director Todd Becker cited the desire to play conference schedules in boys volleyball, badminton and swimming as reasons to join the UEC and endure some horrendous road trips.
A founding member of the MSC, Fenton is leaving at the end of this school year -- forgoing the normal protocol of a full year's notice -- and leaving the MSC less time to find a replacement.
Luckily for the MSC, which lost Glenbard South to the UEC at start of this school year, a replacement isn't too far away.
Because of the massive changes in the Interstate Eight Conference, Westmont is an independent. The Sentinels' football schedule is nuts -- including a Week 4 game against a team from Canada.
I've been told that Westmont to the MSC is practically a done deal. In fact, it might have happened already if not for a delay caused by last week's Fenton decision.
Again, it's not a match made in heaven. With an enrollment of just over 400 students, Westmont will be much smaller than the other remaining public schools and smaller than most of the private schools.
Sitting near that Route 83 corridor, though, Westmont is situated pretty well.
It sure beats life as an independent.
4. Destination ... ESCC or CCL?:
Something to keep in the back of your mind ...
The Chicago Catholic League and the East Suburban Catholic Conference are discussing a possible merger and pretty soon we could get some news on that front.
With 25 schools in the mix, you can imagine the possibilities with divisions based on geography, enrollment, success ... anything is possible with that big a group.
For DuPage County purposes, the merger would impact Benet from the ESCC and Montini in the CCL. And, let's be honest, it'd be awesome to see them play football against each other.
Would something like this be too big to work? Might be.
Mixing 25 different agendas is never easy. The larger a conference, the more vulnerable it is to a split. On the other hand, a bigger conference more easily absorbs shifts and changes.
Anyway, expect some news on that front.
5. Stat time:
There's a strength-of-schedule statistic used by the IHSA, known as playoff points, that represents the number of wins by the opponents on a given team's schedule. The IHSA uses playoff points to break ties in seeding among postseason teams with the same record.
Which DuPage County team has the toughest schedule? If you go by playoff points, it's Naperville North.
At 1-5 the Huskies won't be in the postseason, but they've got 35 playoff points with a schedule featuring two unbeatens (Simeon and Batavia), a game against Waubonsie Valley (5-1), two against Naperville Central (4-2) and Week 8 and 9 games against Huntley (4-2) and Neuqua Valley (4-2).
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