Tri States Public Radio Staff
Western Illinois Schools
Wed August 21, 2013
New Conference Still a Possibility
Three school districts have agreed to form a new conference in western Illinois, but two other districts remain undecided.
The Macomb Board of Education voted this week to allow the high school to join the conference. Monmouth-Roseville and Illini West earlier voted to form the new conference, which needs at least a couple more members to get started.
The other schools considering the idea are Quincy Notre Dame and West Hancock. A meeting involving principals and athletic directors from the five schools could be held next week to work out the details.
“We know there are certain issues that need to be discussed,” said Dave Bartlett, Macomb High School Athletic Director. “We’re not sure how strongly some of the schools feel about some of these issues.”
Those issues include scheduling and whether the new conference will also offer competition for other sports and other extracurricular activities, such as band and choral groups.
Another issue is time. Macomb needs to inform the West Central Conference by September 11 whether it plans to leave or remain in the conference for at least one more year.
Bartlett said discussions about forming the new conference began with talk about creating a strong football conference for the region.
“The schools that do play football have a really difficult time finding non-conference football games. Travel is a big issue,” said Bartlett.
“The discussion started with football but it ended with the idea that this could become a very strong conference in all sports with the schools that are considering joining.”
He said the goal would be to add more schools in the coming years.