The DVC after WeGo


#1

You may have read that this past Monday, the board of the West Chicago Community High School District voted to authorize West Chicago to withdraw from the DuPage Valley Conference and join the Metro Suburban Conference.

A little history: West Chicago has been in the DVC since the league began play in the fall of 1975. The eight original DVC members were:

Glenbard North
Glenbard South
Naperville Central
Naperville North
West Chicago
Wheaton Central
Wheaton North
Wheaton-Warrenville

There was some press coverage at the time to the extent that seven of the schools had decided to form the conference and were looking for an eighth, and that school became West Chicago, which must have been riding the high of their state football championship in 1974. Apparently St. Charles was their second choice.

Wheaton-Warrenville High School closed at the end of the 1982-83 school year. Glenbard East left the DesPlaines Valley League to take W-W’s spot in the DVC. As this happened before the internet era (and, in fact, before most news sources have archives available online) you’d have to do some work to find out if there were any other applicants and who they might have been. In any event, at the time, the conference had been in existence for less than ten years and certainly didn’t have the reputation that it now has.

That’s not the case, however, for the last time a spot in the DVC opened up. Glenbard South was the smallest school in the DVC by not a little bit, and decided in 1995 that it would withdraw and join the Suburban Prairie Conference. Press reports say that there were three finalists- Lake Park, Waubonsie Valley, and West Aurora. While there was some interest in Waubonsie Valley, it was apparently not selected because it was known that the school was going to split, and that the school board wanted both high schools in the same conference. That meant either a 9 team league or another vacancy in short order, and the DVC wanted neither. It came down to Lake Park and West Aurora, and the DVC chose West Aurora, who left the Upstate Eight and joined the DVC as soon as they were able to do so.

So what happens now? It’s no secret that Lake Park hasn’t exactly been a happy camper in the Upstate Eight, although they have been there since 1979. In addition to flirtations with the Mid-Suburban League and the 1995 DVC application, it’s been reported that they tried to engineer a conference swap with West Chicago in 2005 but WeGo backed out. Is this the opening that finally gets then into the DVC?

The DVC has stated that they want to remain an eight team conference, but, let’s say that the three D204 schools find a couple more willing partners and come to the DVC with a plan that would split it into two six team divsions, one of which would be the two Napervilles, Metea Valley, Neuqua Valley, Waubonsie Valley, and West Aurora?

Is there a “mystery school” that captures the DVC’s fancy much like West Aurora did the last time?

In any event, one of the most competitive conferences in the state is poised to become even more competitive now that their weak sister has elected to leave the fold.

What would YOU do if you were the DVC?


#2

Lake Park is STILL dying to get into the DVC, and this may make it a reality soon. I hope so, at least. I feel as if the Upstate Eight at this point doesn’t fit Lake Park very well, not to mention that all the schools are geographically pretty far for being in the same conference. Also, because of the poor layout of the conference, Lake Park doesn’t even have a true rival school. It used to be St. Charles before they split to East and North, but after that split it kind of died down


#3

Lake Park it is.

That didn’t take long…


#4

DVC was already a tough conference for boys track and it just got even tougher.


#5

As an alum, I’m really glad to see this move take place. It’s a much better fit than the Upstate Eight was


#6

While Lake Park has won the last three state championships in (track and) field, it’s worth noting that in none of those three years did it win the Sectional.

The sectional champions in the sectional that included Lake Park:

2010 and 2011: Wheaton-Warrenville South
2012: Wheaton North

There may very well be more talent in the DVC in future years, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the trophies will be finding new homes.


#7

I will agree that the conference winner may not change. Though a conference meet is different than sectionals, it will take a little more sprinting depth for LP to begin to challenge either Wheaton school


#8

true in both cases, but they are infinitely better than west chicago. Also im scared to think of that conference for football now, sweet mother of god.


#9

It will be interesting to see how the dynamics of the DVC evolve once there is no obvious doormat in the league.

The heart of the conference will continue to be the two Napervilles and WWS. All three are excellent high schools with engaged student bodies.

Wheaton North is now the smallest school in the conference but they appear to be up to the challenge more often than not. My guess is that Lake Park slides into the middle of the conference with them.

The two Glenbards and West Aurora appear to bring up the rear, but all three appear to have occasional success in some of their sports programs, and it appears they think they benefit from association with the other DVC schools. All three are large enough that even if they don’t play to their full size they can still be competitive, plus the other conference alternatives (WSC for the Glenbards, UEC for West Aurora) are either not all that appealing- or were the conferences they left to join the DVC.


#10

enrollment figures for the DVC (via the IHSA website), just to further illustrate your point. For reference west chicago has 2148.

west aurora 3474
naperville north 3141
naperville central 2902
lake park 2787
glenbard north 2587
glenbard east 2527
WWS 2310
wheaton north 2195


#11

Another turn in this saga…

The Upstate Eight is different now than it was in 2005, when it is reported that Lake Park tried to engineer a conference swap with West Chicago. WeGo would probably fit in quite well in a division with Geneva, Batavia, Elgin, Larkin, and the two St. Charles Schools. The question is “why didn’t the folks in charge at WeGo also see this and work with Lake Park and the DVC to make this happen?”

It could be that all’s well that ends well, but WeGo could end up competing as an independent next year depending on who else may have applied to the UEC. It sure looks like they really handled this poorly.


#12

http://beaconnews.suntimes.com/news/16189524-418/west-aurora-shows-interest-in-upstate-eight.html

So, if you were the Upstate Eight, and you had the choice between West Aurora and West Chicago, which one would you choose?

It looks like West Aurora would like the two conferences to merge. The vibe I get is that really isn’t what the DVC schools want.

If you found two more schools to add to this mix, you’d have 24. That’s 2 x 12- or 3 x 8.


#13

as a DVC alum, there would be no way i would want to compete in a combined conference if i was still there. If i was in the DVC, i wouldnt mind snatching matea (although i dont see them coming without WV as well).


#14

The only school district in the west or northwest suburbs that I know that splits its schools among conferences is Glenbard 87.

Lake Park was a pretty easy call for the DVC since there was one opening in the conference and Lake Park is the only school in the district. If there’s another opening, things get more difficult.

Assuming West Aurora leaves the DVC for the UEC, let’s look at the schools that are close to the DVC schools and might be candidates:

  • Addison Trail or Willowbrook: In the same district, probably too small to compete with the Napervilles, and have always been in the same conference.
  • Bartlett: One of five U-46 schools. Adding the other four makes twelve, which works. Does the DVC really want Elgin and Larkin?
  • Batavia or Geneva: Single school districts, but just starting to play with the big boys. Something also tells me one doesn’t go without the other.
  • Bolingbrook: Hmmm. In the same district as Romeoville, which is not in the same conference. Even Lake Park is a lot closer than Thornwood or Thornridge.
  • Downers Grove North or South: DGN has been in the WSC for 90 years. Would or could DGS leave the WSC without them?
  • Jacobs/Dundee-Crown/Hampshire: More candidates for the UEC, but Hampshire is just too small to compete in the UEC.
  • East Aurora: If West Aurora can’t compete in the DVC, East Aurora can’t, either.
  • Glenbard West: Has been in the WSC with York, DGN, and Hinsdale Central for 90 years. Not seeing that changing.
  • Hoffman Estates: The smallest of the D211 schools; they might compete better with Elgin and Larkin than with Palatine and Fremd. Hard to see the school board splitting the district.
  • Neuqua/Metea/Waubonsie (D204): Does the school board let just one of them move from the UEC to the DVC?
  • St. Charles North or East: Would or could just one move? Would be among the smallest schools in the DVC.
  • West Chicago: I suspect the DVC would welcome them back, but if they land anywhere it will be the UEC.

More unknowns than equations here.


#15

bolded are the only schools that make any sense in the DVC from a size/athletic success perspective (im assuming matea develops as its sister valley schools have done). Im not saying any of those will happen, but those are the ones that make sense. The only ones i can see moving in are GBW and DGS.


#16

Cross Bolingbrook off the list. I’ve heard they want to leave the SWSC, but not for a conference like the DVC. Much more likely to join Minooka and the Plainfields (and district-mate Romeoville) in the Southwest Prairie Conference.


#17

An update on the open spot in the UEC:

http://blogs.suburbanchicagonews.com/bauman/2012/11/move_back_to_uec_would_rejuven.html

Here’s what I thought was the most interesting paragraph in the article:

The letter does not obligate the school, it merely expresses interest, according to West athletic director Jason Buckley. There will be competition for that open spot in the UEC. Sources tell us Glenbard East and West Chicago – two DVC schools that are also struggling mightily to keep up in football – have also expressed interest. West High is now waiting to hear back from the Upstate Eight.

So, what do West Aurora, Glenbard East, and West Chicago have in common: In most years, they only DVC schools they have a prayer of beating in football are each other.

If you take the 22 schools in the DVC and UEC and arrange them by enrollment, you get:

Neuqua Valley 4072
West Aurora 3474
East Aurora 3394
Naperville North 3141
Naperville Central 2902
Lake Park 2787
South Elgin 2682
Bartlett 2663
Glenbard North 2587
Waubonsie Valley 2559
Glenbard East 2527
Metea Valley 2485
Elgin 2378
St. Charles East 2336
W W South 2310
Wheaton North 2195
West Chicago 2148
Streamwood 2084
St. Charles North 2048
Larkin 1995
Geneva 1942
Batavia 1910

All of these schools are 4A for bracket sports. For football, the largest of the 7A schools (of those who qualified this fall) was St. Charles East.

If you split these 22 schools into 3 conferences (or divisions if you prefer; 8-7-7 or 8-8-6), how would you split them so West Aurora, West Chicago, and Glenbard East can win football games?


#18

Today’s update on conference musical chairs in the far western suburbs, as reported by both the Elgin Courier-News and the Daily Herald:

http://couriernews.suntimes.com/sports/16410199-419/upstate-eight-invites-three-schools-to-join-conference.html

The highlights:

  • The UEC has invited West Chicago to take Lake Park’s place in the Valley Division of the UEC, beginning in the fall of 2013.
  • The UEC has also invited West Aurora and Glenbard East to join, effective in the fall of 2014, contingent on the outcome of an interview process that will be completed in December.

Some thoughts:

  • There is no way WeGo survives long term in the UEC Valley. After a few games against Neuqua, Waubonsie, and Bartlett, they’ll almost wish they were back in the DVC.
  • If the other two schools both jump, based on current enrollments, Glenbard East would be the 8th largest school in the UEC. The 9th largest is Metea Valley, but they’re only 42 students smaller than Glenbard East. This jump makes sense for Glenbard East if they’re the big fish in a small pond. If they’re the smallest school in a conference of giants, they might as well stay in the DVC, because the additional travel will be expensive and time consuming.
  • How do you make a 16 team conference work? Sure looks like it’s by splitting it into two eight team conferences. Don’t think the River and Valley schools will end up playing each other all that often in anything. The nice aspect of it is that as enrollments change, you can move schools between the two divisions without going through all of this conference jumping.
  • Already some speculation that Neuqua and Waubonsie will move to the DVC. Do they do that without taking Metea with them? That leaves the DVC with 9 and the UEC with 13, which most likely works for neither.
  • Maybe the right answer here is for West Aurora to jump, letting WeGo move into the UEC River, and for Glenbard East to stay put. The DVC and the UEC then work out an arrangement to fill the empty week in the football schedule. It could also be that there is some kind of merger in the works; those two weeks in the football schedule will be hard to fill for the 6 remaining DVC schools.

#19

At this point why not just scrap it all and create new conferences?


#20

Or, as is proposed every year, dump the entire concept of conferences for football, and let the IHSA divide the entire state into regionals, with schools sorted by size, like they do for every other sport.

Schools could form conferences for other sports, or could compete as independents and find their own level of competition in each sport. And since every school gets invited to the state series in every other sport, your record before the state series really doesn’t matter.

If you think other sports matter, folks, you’re kidding yourselves. Almost all of this is happening because some of these schools can’t compete in football. Period.