DeKALB – With time running out, DeKalb athletic director Peter Goff said he’s currently exploring two options to keep the Barbs from being independents in the 2019-20 athletic season.
Goff said he’s set to give a presentation to the Upstate Eight Conference on Wednesday at South Elgin High School, with the DuPage Valley Conference visiting DeKalb next week to hear his pitch.
Goff said there was no time frame on hearing back from either conference.
The Barbs were rejected by the Upstate Eight earlier this year after they found themselves without a conference when the Northern Illinois Big 12 announced its breakup at the start of the 2019-20 season.
But West Aurora was accepted into the Southwest Prairie Conference along with DeKalb’s former NIB 12 rival, Yorkville. That left the Upstate Eight with only nine teams for the 2019-20 season.
Goff said the Upstate Eight is looking at four teams, but wasn’t sure if they’d expand to 10 or 12 teams. He declined to say which other teams there conference is looking at.
Upstate Eight president and South Elgin athletic director Mike Jezioro did not respond to an email seeking comment.
As it stands now, next year’s Upstate Eight would have Glenbard East, South Elgin, Bartlett, Larkin, Glenbard South, East Aurora, Elgin, Streamwood and West Chicago.
Another possibility for the Barbs is the DuPage Valley Conference, which is currently at five teams because four teams left after the 2017-18 season to form the DuKane Conference.
“I know some people [in the DVC],” Goff said. “They reached out to me, and we reached back.”
The conference currently is made up of three Naperville schools and two Aurora schools. Goff said the league is not just interested into getting up to six teams for football, which leads to an automatic qualifier for the playoffs.
“It’s 10 miles shorter than what we do now, on the average,” Goff said. “I think activities and academics are important to them, along with athletics.”
Goff said right now the school doesn’t really have a preference.
“We’re going to present, and the strengths of both is that they are talking to us,” Goff said.
The Northern Illinois Big 12 will cease to exist after this school year. Geneseo and Sterling will head to the Western Big 6. Most of the former NIB12 schools will join Plano and Sandwich in a new-look Interstate 8 – Kaneland, Sycamore, Morris, Ottawa, LaSalle-Peru and Rochelle will be in the new I-8.
Goff said the one thing the school is sure of is that DeKalb doesn’t want to play as independents. Currently, there are eight schools playing as IHSA independents in football – Mater Dei, Madison, Westmont, Granite City, Mt. Carmel, Edwardsville (Metro-East Lutheran), Farmer City-Blue Ridge co-op, and Christ the King.
“It’s definitely a situation we do not want to be in,” Goff said.