The catbird seat” is an American English idiomatic phrase used to describe an enviable position, often in terms of having the upper hand or greater advantage in any type of dealing among parties.

(1-8-18) – The high school athletic conference picture in the Stateline has been very unstable and pretty busy since the end of December. One school, Burlington Central, seems to be in the ‘catbird seat’ with a couple of viable options on the table.

Since being notified by the Kishwaukee River Conference that they were being ‘bounced‘ for being to big, the Rockets have been looking for a newq= conference home for their athletic department. Depending on what they decide could have a major impact on two area conferences, the Northern Ilinois Big 12 conference (remaining 5 members and the Fox Valley Conference).


Mark January 16th down on your calendar as the day we might find out what the future holds for the Rocket athletic programs. That is the day the Board of Education will act on several options that are on the table for consideration.

Steve Diversey, Burlington Central  Athletics & Activities Director:

1-Burlington Central seems to be the most popular school looking for a new conference home, a Fox Valley Conference Invitation and interest shown from both DeKalb and Sycamore. How does BC see the situation?

Central 301 was forced to seek and consider conference options following a vote by the Kishwaukee River Conference to remove Central from the conference in June, 2017.   Letters of interest were sent by Central to the four conferences which border our attendance area.  We received an immediate response of interest from the Fox Valley Conference and were invited into a discussion. We received a response of interest from the Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference in November and were invited to a discussion there as well.

2-What timetable are you looking at for a final decision?

We made a recommendation to the Board of Education on December 18 to accept the official invite we received from the Fox Valley Conference.  The Board is expected to vote on this offer on January 16.  At the time, it was the only invite the district had received.  Central did receive an invite from the five remaining schools in the Northern Illinois Big 12 on Friday, December 22.  This invitation has not been discussed at the Board level as of yet.  On December 18, we reported to the Board of Education that the Northern Illinois Big 12 was considering the addition of Plano, Sandwich or Central and that a final decision would likely occur in March, 2018; so this invitation came on very quickly.

3-What are you hoping to find in your next conference home?

Our two primary factors involved in finding  an ideal conference home were stability and better travel than we have historically had.  A third factor also includes competitive balance.  It is important that our student athletes have the opportunity to compete in a highly competitive league that will afford them a chance to be successful within conference play while also preparing them for postseason play.

4-Two conference changes in a short period time, hindsight thoughts on leaving Big Northern?

As we continue to grow as a district, with the largest portion of the growth being on the east side of our district, travel in the Big Northern would not appear to have been sustainable for the Central community.  Initially, there was an effort to solve this by suggesting that the Big Northern consider adding Woodstock and Woodstock North.  This would have increased the size of the conference and allow for desirable divisions for the schools on the east side of the conference. Since there was no interest by the western schools to give this option consideration, the eastern schools decided it was time for the split.  Our focus is on making a good decision for our student athletes moving forward.  There are many exciting things happening at Central, and this begins to mark a new chapter for us.

Remaining NIB-12 Enrollments with Burlington Central

  • DeKalb 1,790
  • Yorkville 1,746
  • Kaneland 1,343
  • Sycamore 1,254
  • Burlington Central 1,049
  • Sterling 998

Fox Valley Conference Enrollments with Burlington Central

  • Huntley 2,996
  • McHenry 2,226
  • Dundee-Crown 2,476
  • Algonquin Jacobs 2,122
  • Cary-Grove 1,731
  • Hampshire 1,588
  • Crystal Lake Central 1,545
  • Crystal Lake South 1,524
  • Prairie Ridge 1,457
  • Burlington Central 1,049