Created:Tuesday, November 19, 2013 10:17 a.m.CDT
Updated:Wednesday, May 14, 2014 10:40 a.m.CDT

New athletic conference begins to take shape

Harvard, which saw its undefeated season come to an end last week in the state quarterfinals against Rockford Lutheran on Saturday, is among eight schools expected to join a new athletic conference beginning in the fall of 2015. (Kyle Grillot -

Eight schools, including six from McHenry County, are poised to make up a new athletic conference beginning in 2015.

Woodstock, Woodstock North, Johnsburg, Richmond-Burton, Marengo and Harvard – along with Burlington Central and Genoa-Kingston were listed in an informational presentation given to the District 301 school board Monday night as potential members for the new the new league.

Woodstock High School principal Corey Tafoya declined last week to say which schools – or how many – could be joining the new league, saying he didn't want to speak for districts other than the one he represents.

Burlington Central athletic director Steve Diversey, who presented the report to the District 301 board, said on Tuesday that the option of moving to a new conference made sense on a variety of levels. Unlike Woodstock and Woodstock North, which are among the smallest schools in the Fox Valley Conference, Burlington Central would not be looking to switch conferences because of student enrollment numbers. Instead, Diversey said, B-C would benefit from competing against schools in closer proximity.

Diversey said students would not have to be dismissed early from classes for games and a shorter distance would also allow parents coming from work to be able to see their kids play.

Tafoya said Tuesday morning - as he did last week - that he felt it was important for each district board to have "localized" discussions about schools making the jump to a new league. Tafoya said once those discussions took place at the board level, it would be easier to "connect the dots" as to who is involved in the new conference.

Tafoya said that while names for the new conference have been discussed, nothing has been formalized. He said that the new league would be moving away from the Big Northern distinction.

Marengo, Harvard and Genoa-Kingston are all original members of the BNC, which was formed in 1991.

G- K Principal Brett McPherson would not confirm the school's interest in the new league when reached Tuesday morning.

"I don't have an official comment on any of that stuff other than to say we're always looking for opportunities to do what's right for our kids," McPherson said.

The school's athletic director Phil Jerbi agreed.

"At this time, we are always looking at opportunities to benefit our students or our student-athletes in any way, shape or form," Jerbi said. "We're always looking at viable options."

According to IHSA enrollment numbers, Burlington Central would be the largest school in the conference with 1,051 students. Woodstock and Woodstock North, which have been discussing the option of leaving the FVC for 18 months internally, would be the second and third largest schools, respectively with 950 and 930 students.

Genoa-Kingston would be the league's smallest school with 640 students. The remainder of the schools have between 703 students (Harvard) and 786 (Richmond-Burton).

The R-B school board is scheduled to meet Wednesday night and has an agenda item listed as a discussion/proposal regarding a new athletic conference. A district athletic advisory committee discussed the subject last week. The Rockets are currently a member of the BNC, a league that athletic director and football coach Pat Elder said last week was committed to.

Johnsburg is slated to join the BNC next year, leaving the FVC due to being the smallest school in the league with 709 students.

Tafoya said Tuesday he expects all of the school boards to receive information about the formation of the new league this month and expects votes to be taken by each board in December.

"We think there really are a lot of benefits for everyone involved," Tafoya said Tuesday. "I think this gives us a tidy, little conference."

DeKalb Daily Chronicle sports editor Ross Jacobson contributed to this report.