(6-3-18) Mark down June 18th on your calendar that is the day when the Southwest Prairie Conference will hold discussions on possible future expansion.

Two years ago the SWPC added two schools to the membership, Joliet Central and Joliet West. Football continues to be a driving force in the constant conference changes in Illinois. That gave the conference 10 member schools, which allows for 9 conference football games and no open dates.

No official word on who any of the candidates are at this time, although sources say that Yorkville (one of the last remaining members of the NIB 12 looking for a new home) and West Aurora (Upstate 8 Conference) have been mentioned. Adding two new member schools would allow for the conference to split into six-school divisions. That would also be a bonus for football allowing two automatic bids to  the playoffs.

Dr. Lane Abrell
Dr. Lane Abrell

In an email replay to SSN from Dr. Lane Abrell, who is the Superintendent of the Plainfield School district, comments on the upcoming expansion process:

The Board of Control (comprised of the member high school principals) of the Southwest Prairie Conference has regularly scheduled meetings throughout the school year with the next one on June 18.  If one or more non-conference high schools express interest in joining the conference that high school or high schools may be invited to present information to the current Board of Control.  The initial meeting is informational and no vote would be taken.  If there is a decision by the Board of Control to vote on the matter of expansion by adding one or more identified high schools, that would mostly likely occur at the next scheduled meeting.

The Plainfield school district has four members in the conference, the most of any districts presently in SWPC and four votes on the future of any major changes.

Abrell also replied to SSN about the Oswego schools and the possibility of them moving to a new conference that was mentioned in a recent article:

As far as Oswego HS or Oswego East HS leaving the Southwest Prairie Conference, I can’t comment as I have no knowledge or have not spoken to anyone from the Oswego School District about that topic.

An email has sent two emails to Oswego school adminstrators asking about their status in the conference, but at the posting of this article no reply has been received.

Two schools who seem to be in the running to be accepted for membership include Yorkville and West Aurora.

Dr. Craig Jeff
Dr. Craig Jeff

SSN received the following reply from West Aurora Superintendent Dr. Craig Jeff  on the possibility of joining the SWPC:

I can’t comment on what meeting topics the Southwest Prairie Conference might be discussing.

Dr. (Charles) Hiscock (West Aurora Principal) has made his counterparts at the Upstate Eight aware that West Aurora is interested in seeking out opportunities that are in the best interest of our students, staff and school.

For West Aurora they can wait for the SWPC to make their decision, while Yorkville needs to act quickly or face the possibility of being an independent in the 2019-20 school year.

One curve-ball that could still slow any conference from considering expansion is based on the continuing talk of the state going into district play for football. This would eliminate conferences from having football as a conference sport.  One of the key goals of that plan is stop the constant conference change.

Did you know….

  • The Southwest Praire Conference began competing during the 2006-2007 academic school year.
  • Minooka, Oswego, Oswego East, Plainfield Central, Plainfield East, Plainfield North and Plainfield South came from the former Suburban Prairie Conference South division.
  • Romeoville High School came from the former South Inter-Conference Association North division.
  • Joliet Central and Joliet West  joined the conference from the Southwest Suburban Conference at the start of the 2016-2017 school year.
  • Starting this fall the remaining Upstate Eight Conference members St. Charles East, St. Charles North, Batavia and Geneva will merge with exiting DuPage Valley Conference members Wheaton Warrenville South, Wheaton North, Glenbard North and Lake Park to form the new DuKane Conference
  • The new-look Upstate Eight will now have 10 members, Glenbard East, West Aurora, East Aurora, West Chicago, Elgin, Larkin, Streamwood, Bartlett and South Elgin, plus they will add Glenbard South next fall the new DuKane Conference this fall.
  • The Northern Illinois Big 12, which will compete in its last season this fall, has seen Yorkville and DeKalb left without a conference, making it a priority for the Foxes future in securing a new home.
  • Should West Aurora join the SWPC, the Upstate 8 would be down to eight members. That would most likely start a search to add another member…and would start more conference juggling.