(10-5-18) A recent trend in the US is seeing the divide of public and private high schools taking place in state high school athletic associations. Some states are battling it out in the court room, while others are taking steps to solving it on the playing field. An announcement yesterday in Illinois that two Chicago and Suburban Catholic football leagues would merge. 24 schools will now form the new (unnamed) super conference in 2019.

According to school officials from the Chicago Catholic League and East Suburban Catholic the two will merge for football in 2019, with 14 members from the Catholic League and 10 from the East Suburban Catholic.

Chicago Catholic League members
Brother Rice
De La Salle
Mount Carmel
St. Ignatius
St. Laurence
St. Joseph
St. Rita

East Suburban Catholic members
Joliet Catholic
Marian Catholic
Marian Central
Notre Dame
St. Patrick
St. Viator

One casualty of the merger is Hope Academy (football only member of the Catholic League Red Conference), they were not invited to be a part of the new set-up. No official word from conference officials on why Hope was not included in new set-up.

If this all sounds familiar it is, the two leagues merged in 1996 to 2002 as the Catholic Metro Conference.

Details of the merger:

A committee of athletic directors from each conference agreed on a formula to determine divisional placement of each school.

Factors included for division alignment:

  • six divisions of four teams
  • male enrollment
  • football participation numbers
  • success during the 2017 and 2018 season


  • two non-conference games to start the season
  • three games against the other teams in their division
  • four crossover games

The only possible issue facing the new set-up would be if the IHSA decides in the future to go to district play, no word on if that will happen in the near future with a membership vote.

Official statement sent to the press yesterday-

CCL, ESCC to merge for football competition in 2019

The Chicago Catholic League and the East Suburban Catholic Conference proudly announce the merger of their leagues for football competition beginning with the 2019 season.  The football merger was formalized after a unanimous vote by school principals from both conferences.

School leadership felt strongly that combining the football portion of the leagues would lead to increased parity among programs, based on like enrollment, football participation, and team success. With schools playing opponents more similar to themselves, the opportunity to garner success and grow programs is great. Most importantly, the two illustrious leagues share in their Catholic mission, and put faith formation, academics, and the maturation of young men at the forefront.

Throughout the spring and summer 2018, a committee of athletic directors from each conference came together to discuss this possibility.  The committee devised and agreed upon, a formula which will determine the divisional placement of each school.  A school’s male enrollment, football participation numbers, and success during the 2017 and 2018 football seasons will determine the divisional alignment of the conference.

The new football conference will consist of the 14 full members of the Chicago Catholic League (CCL) and the 10 full members of the East Suburban Catholic Conference (ESCC). CCL members include Brother Rice High School (Chicago), De La Salle Institute (Chicago), DePaul College Prep (Chicago), Fenwick High School (Oak Park), Leo High School (Chicago), Loyola Academy (Wilmette), Marmion Academy (Aurora), Mt. Carmel High School (Chicago), Montini Catholic High School (Lombard), Providence Catholic High School (New Lenox), St. Laurence High School (Burbank), St. Rita High School (Chicago), St. Ignatius College Prep (Chicago), and St. Joseph High School (Westchester).

The ESCC members are Benet Academy (Lisle), Carmel Catholic High School (Mundelein), Joliet Catholic Academy (Joliet), Marian Catholic High School (Chicago Heights), Marian Central Catholic High School (Woodstock), Marist High School (Chicago), Nazareth Academy (LaGrange Park), Notre Dame College Prep (Niles), St. Patrick High School (Chicago), and St. Viator High School (Arlington Heights).

Further details about the merger will be announced as committee work progresses.