LaSalle-Peru, Ottawa, Morris, Rochelle and Geneseo sent a letter to Northern Illinois Big 12 president and Kaneland athletic director Peter Goff on Friday, informing the league of their decision to leave in 2019.
“It’s kind of the state we live in with the nature of conferences,” Goff said. “We’ll have to regroup and move on.”
The exodus of the five schools leaves six teams in the NIB12 – DeKalb, Sycamore, Kaneland, Yorkville and Sterling.
Goff said with the conference just being informed of the split, there hasn’t been time to work on plans for the future – whether it’s trying to rebuild or split up.
“We don’t know,” Goff said. “We haven’t all talked about anything, but we plan to meet over the break and talk.”
Goff said he’s confident that the remaining teams will figure something out.
“I think we have a lot of great things to offer,” Goff said. “The people that are left, our schools are competitive on the whole, and I think you can see a lot of different things with different types of competition of a very high caliber.
“They needed to do what was right for their schools and communities, and we need to do what’s right for our schools and our communities,” Goff said. “Moving forward that’s what we’re going to do.”
One possible piece in any new scenario is Burlington Central, which was recently voted out of the Kishwaukee River Conference because of their expected increase in enrollment size. However, the school was offered an invitation to the Fox Valley Conference and is expected to have its school board vote on the invitation in January.