The NIB 12 most likely will be losing five members Rochelle, Ottawa, LaSalle-Peru, Morris and Geneseo, joining them will be Plano and Sandwich (current members of the I-8).
The Daily Chronicle reported late last night that Geneseo looks to also be leaving the NIB 12, with the other four schools who had sent letters to conference president and Kaneland AD Peter Goff. Goff said later Friday night that he spoke to Geneseo principal Travis Mackey and said the school is also leaving the I-8 to join the new conference.
An exploratory meeting with Rochelle, Ottawa, LaSalle-Peru, Morris and Geneseo on Oct. 30 at Sandwich was held to discuss the new conference set-up.
Rochelle Principal Chris Lewis statement:
“We have been in talks with both a group of schools who were invited to join the Interstate Eight Conference and with the NIB-12 on expansion and realignment. It will be our recommendation to the RTHS school board in January that we leave the NIB-12 conference following the 2018-19 school year and join the I-8 conference.”
“With conference realignments the main issues are typically enrollment, competitive balance and travel,” Lewis said in Friday’s statement. “Our current enrollment projections will continue to slowly decrease. We believe this to be the best decision for RTHS at this point and a better fit for our students and community.”
The news of Geneseo also moving on means five schools (DeKalb, Sycamore, Kaneland, Yorkville, Sterling ) are left to decide their futures. It would be a major setback for football, IHSA requires six schools in a conference to receive an automatic bid.
An answer for DeKalb and Sycamore may be to approach the NIC 10 for membership, both schools in the past have shown interest in that possibility. The addition of two members would expand the membership to 12 and a possible two division set-up.
One I-8 school still left out in the cold is Westmont after the first fall-out, they joined Plano and Sandwich looking for a new conference home.
The new conference, with seven schools committing, most likely would like to add an additional member, especially for football, uneven number conferences face nightmares in scheduling.
Burlington Central, who is presently looking to join a new conference, now has several options, including the Fox Valley Conference who has invited the Rockets to join several weeks ago.
Will update developments as they happen…
(12-22-17) LaSalle-Peru, Ottawa, Morris and Rochelle have informed Northern Illinois Big 12 president and Kaneland AD Peter Goff today that all four schools will be exiting the league in 2019.
In August Morris had applied for membership in the I-8 but was voted down. Plano, Sandwich and Westmont were recently left searching for a new conference affiliation when the eight other schools in the Interstate Eight Conference formally announced their decision in October to leave the league at the start of the 2019-2020 school year. Sources say that the four NIB 12 schools leaving will join Plano and Sandwich and start a new conference. Interesting enough Sandwich voted no on bringing Morris into the I-8 in October. Circumstances do make strange bedfellas.
That leaves the NIB 12 (-6) with just six members:
All of a sudden Burlington Central, who was recently kicked out by the Kishwaukee River Conference for growing to fast, may now have two suitors for them to join a new conference. The Fox Valley Conference has asked them earlier this week to join, but now it looks like the NIB 12 (-6) may be calling very, very soon.
Goff told the Daily Chronicle:
“It’s kind of the state we live in with the nature of conferences. We’ll have to regroup and move on.”
As for the future….
“We don’t know,” Goff said. “We haven’t all talked about anything but we plan to meet over the break and talk.”
“I think we have a lot of great things to offer. The people that are left, our schools are competitive on the whole and I think you can see a lot of different things with different types of competition of a very high caliber.
“They needed to do what was right for their schools and communities, and we need to do what’s right for our schools and our communities. Moving forward that’s what we’re going to do.”
DeKalb athletic director Nic Kearfott said in a Daily Chronicle story in October:
“We don’t have anything concrete yet. We’re pleased with what we have. But if things fall a part and teams leave we’ll have to find something sooner rather than later. I’ve made comments at the AD table (at conference meetings) that we are looking but we’re not going to jump ship just to jump ship. It has to be a good fit for our school, our athletic programs, and our community.”
Could DeKalb and Sycamore get an invitation to join the NIC 10? It has been talked about and discussed in recent years.
Sidelight: The Northern Illinois High School Conference (which was the start of the NIC 10) began play in 1916 with East Aurora, West Aurora, DeKalb, Freeport, Rockford, Elgin and Joliet as charter members. In 1917 the Barbs left, but would join again in 1919 and finally leave for good in 1929.
Former DeKalb AD (also was the AD at Belvidere) Bryon Houy told the Rockford Register Star in 2012:
“When I was in Belvidere, I always thought after Belvidere went to two schools that it made sense for Sycamore and DeKalb to join the NIC-10. We already play non-conference games against a lot of NIC-10 teams in almost every sport except football.”
Conference changes are nothing new in the area, with multiple changes taking place over the past five years. Changes usually ripple from one conference to another. Football scheduling has been a big part of why schools look around.