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(12-30-17) The sudden departure of five Northern Illinois Big 12 members has left two area schools looking for a new league home. One is DeKalb who hopes to have something settled as soon as possible and would like to remain with neighbor Sycamore in any of the possibilities that they will consider.

There are many options on the table for the Barbs to consider, but none are a sure thing as this point in time. But one of those options could be asking the NIC 10 to consider them for membership.

Below Nic Kearfott, Director of Athletics, DeKalb answers some questions about the Barbs conference possibilities:

1-Were you made aware or have an indication that schools would be withdrawing from the NIB 12 ? 

The schools that are leaving the conference notified the NIB 12 AD’s that they were exploring the option of joining Plano and Sandwich in November, but stated that nothing was moving forward at that time due to only having 7 interested schools.

2-Five NIB 12 schools (DeKalb, Sycamore, Kaneland, Yorkville, Sterling)  remaining, will you look to add new members or search for a new conference home?

DeKalb HS will be exploring all options and possibilities.  I am sure one of those options will be trying to keep the 5 remaining NIB 12 schools together and adding to keep the conference in tack.  Once we know all options for DHS, we will look to see what is best for our school and community.

3-Will you consider shopping both (DeKalb and Sycamore) schools as a package deal to a conference?

If at all possible we would like to try and stay in the same conference with Sycamore to maintain the rivalry games and assure we play the First National Challenge Games (football and basketball).

4-Thoughts on joining the NIC 10?

DHS will explore all options of conference surrounding us which will include the NIC 10 Conference.


5-Burlington Central, will they be asked to consider joining you and the four other remaining members?

The five remaining NIB 12 schools are planning on meeting after the new year to discuss how we would like to move forward.  I am sure sure the topic of inviting Burlington Central to join us will be discussed at the meeting.

Both DeKalb and Sycamore’s enrollments would be a good fit for the NIC 10.


  • Harlem 2,092
  • Hononegah 2,074
  • East 1,994
  • Auburn 1,865
  • DeKalb 1,790
  • Jefferson 1,632
  • Belvidere North 1,508
  • Belvidere 1,263
  • Sycamore 1,254
  • Freeport 1,189
  • Guilford 1,721
  • Boylan 895 (without multiplier)

All the options that are on the table for DeKalb will depend on what the remaining schools in the NIB 12 will do.


Past Conference Affiliations

For DeKalb they hope to find a league that will be stable and around for a long time. The current NIB 12 is not even ten years old having started in 2011. The NIB 12 started after the Western Sun Conference, which started in 2006 and ended abruptly in 2010.
The Western Sun Conference:

  • Batavia
  • DeKalb
  • Geneva
  • Glenbard South
  • Kaneland
  • Rochelle
  • Sycamore
  • Yorkville

Before the Western Sun they were charter members in 1963 of the Upstate 8 with East Aurora, Elgin, Elgin Larkin, Glenbard East, Naperville, West Aurora and Wheaton. DeKalb left the conference in 2005.

In 1929 they were charter members of the North Central Illinois Conference along with Belvidere, Dixon, Mendota, Rochelle and Sterling, they left in 1963.

In 1916 they were charter members in what is now the NIC 10, along with East Aurora, West Aurora, Freeport, Rockford, Elgin and Joliet.