In what appears to be a "football related" decision, the Suburban Christian Conference (SCC) will see 7 of its teams leave for the Metro Suburban Conference (MSC). In short, the Suburban Christian Conference was blown up after athletic directors kept their intent to move a closely guarded secret until it was announced on Thursday by the MSC Board of Control President Todd Leden.
Leden, who also serves as the Fenton High School Principal, released the following statement: “On behalf of the MSC, we are thrilled to be welcoming these seven schools to our conference.The additional opportunity for student growth and achievement is very exciting and we are confident this expansion will be a positive experience for all communities involved.”
The seven schools are Aurora Central Catholic, Palos Heights Chicago Christian, River Grove Guerin, Elmhurst Immaculate Conception, Elgin St.Edward, Melrose Park Walther Lutheran and Wheaton Academy and their move will become effective July 1, 2014. The teams will be officially released from the SCC in what is expected to be a "rubber stamp process" since league bylaws merely require only a years notice to leave.
Thus, so far as the departing schools are concerned the process will be painless but wonders exactly what pains lie ahead for the five remaining members who must now scramble to figure out what becomes of them as well making sure they have enough games on their schedules to satisfy the Illinois High School Association requirements for competing in the State Football Playoffs.
Naturally there are options available for the remaining members - Aurora Christian, Aurora Marmion Academy, Woodstock Marian Central Catholic, Lombard Montini Catholic and Wheaton St. Francis. The simplest of which is probably creating an home and away round-robin schedule as that would only necessitate the finding one opponent to fill out a nine game season. And given traditional out of conference games for some, that shouldn't be problem for most especially four-peat State Champion Lombard Montini who already play such teams as Springfield Sacred Heart Griffin and Joliet Catholic Academy. It should be noted that the all-girls Aurora Rosary is also a member of the SCC and are highly competitive in other sports not limited to gender.
Then again, there is also talk of the remaining members possibly joining the East Suburban or Chicago Catholic Conferences. Of course they could also attempt to lure new members into the conference as well. So I suppose it isn't the end of the world or undo-able either in the short or long term. It must be noted that the all-girls Aurora Rosary is also a member of the SCC and are highly competitive in other sports not limited to gender and their schedules will be effected by the departure of these seven schools.
In my opinion, the blindsiding of the Suburban Christian Conference was unwarranted given its excellent athletic history and I am sorry to see it blown up in the manner it was. It was cheeky at best. But hey I do understand the rationale too since many of the departed have found it difficult to compete in this conference for whatever reasons. And when it came to football, well the prospects of attaining a state playoff berth were nearly impossible for some members. But I don't believe it had much to do with enrollment levels as there wasn't a big as a disparity as found in other conferences in the area. Still, no one wants to be a doormat or practice dummy either.
Still, I have to wonder if this move to the Metro Suburban Conference will reverse the fortunes for many of the departed? The current league membership consists of Elmwood Park, Bensenville Fenton, Glen Ellyn Glenbard South, Lansing Illiana Christian, Norridge Ridgewood, Riverside-Brookfield and Elmhurst Timothy Christian. Of those schools Illiana and Timothy Christian do not compete in football. So in terms of football, the MSC will see a 12 team conference split into two divisions with the current members holding a significant edge in higher enrollments and as such, the likelihood of winning.
Now, I have no doubts that Aurora Central Catholic, Elmhurst Immaculate Conception and maybe even Wheaton Academy will bring some solid competition for Glen Ellyn Glenbard South and/or Elmwood Park - but what about those other, weaker teams of the SCC versus those of the MSC? Now I can't be sure but I have a hunch that those weaker MSC teams are going to fare better than those of the SCC.
Naturally there are other sports than football to consider too, but I have some serious reservations whether or not some of these departing teams aren't shooting themselves in the proverbial foot. But only time will tell, right? Besides, conference shifting and reorganizing has become more and more common place these days. So much so that it is almost a non-event when it happens.
Except this time - this was a Big Bang!
Tags: Aurora Central Catholic, Aurora Christian, Aurora Marmion Academy, Aurora Rosary, Bensenville Fenton, Elgin St.Edward, Elmhurst Immaculate Conception, Elmhurst Timothy Christian, Elmwood Park, Glen Ellyn Glenbard South, Headline News, High School Football, High School Sports, High School Sports News, Illinois High School Association, Lansing Illiana Christian, Lombard Montini Catholic, Melrose Park Walther Lutheran, Metro Suburban Conference, Metro Suburban Conference Expansion, Norridge Ridgewood, Palos Heights Chicago Christian, River Grove Guerin, Riverside-Brookfield, Seven Teams Leave Suburban Christian Conference, Suburban Christian Conference, Suburban Christian Conference Blown Up, Todd Leden, Wheaton Academy, Wheaton St. Francis, Woodstock Marian Central Catholic