MORRIS – The Interstate Eight Conference principals met Tuesday morning and voted to not admit Morris Community High School into the conference.
The vote total, which I-8 officials did not release, means that Morris, with its enrollment of 844, will remain a member of the Northern Illinois Big 12.
The schools currently in the Interstate Eight, and their enrollments, are Coal City (636), Wilmington (486), Reed-Custer (471), Sandwich (708), Plano (717), Herscher (569), Seneca (424), Streator (942), Lisle (484), Westmont (448), Peotone (530) and Manteno (651). However, the Interstate Eight will be reduced to 11 schools next year after Seneca departs.
Seneca will join the Sangamon Valley Conference for football and wrestling and the Tri-County Conference for all other sports and activities.
The Northern Illinois Big 12 consists of Morris, Yorkville (1,748), DeKalb (1,790), Sycamore (1,254), Kaneland (1,343), Geneseo (812), Ottawa (1,375), LaSalle-Peru (1,218), Sterling (998), and Rochelle (910).
In the past few years, Morris teams have been in the same regionals or sectionals as Interstate Eight schools such as Plano, Sandwich, Coal City, Peotone, Herscher, Streator and Manteno.
Morris Principal Kelly Hussey was given the news after the meeting by Manteno principal and Interstate Eight president Roger Schnitzler. The Interstate Eight had held a meeting in June, but did not vote since not all the schools were represented.
“Even back in June, we had heard that it may go that way,” Hussey said about the vote. “Mr. Schnitzler told me that we did not get enough votes on our behalf to admit us into the conference.”
Hussey also noted that Schnitzler said that the Interstate Eight will stay with its current alignment of 11 schools. Other schools that had been considered were Pontiac and Kankakee.
Morris has been a bit nomadic in its recent history. After being a member of the Little Seven Conference from 1973-1995, the Redskins have been in the Suburban Prairie, Southwest Prairie, NCIC and Northern Illinois Big 12.
“We are not upset with the NIB 12,” Hussey said. “We have had some differences, like schools in any conference do, but we have been working out those differences. We aren’t actively looking to leave. The Interstate Eight approached us, we did not approach them.
“In the future, if the opportunity presents itself, we would definitely look at it, We owe it to our community and our constituents to do what is best for the kids. If there is a situation that looks better for the school in all aspects, then we would take a look at it.”