After years of discussion, speculation, starts and stops, West Chicago finally cleared the last hurdle toward finding a new conference home.
At Monday's special meeting of the Community High School District 94 board of education, the board members voted 4-3 in favor of authorizing school administrators to apply for membership into the Metro Suburban Conference and, upon acceptance, begin the process of withdrawing from the DuPage Valley Conference.
While the news is hardly surprising considering West Chicago's move has been a topic of discussion for years, the fact that action now can be taken is a game-changer for the DVC and other conferences depending on how the dominoes fall moving forward.
"We're still in the DVC, and that needs to be clear," said West Chicago athletic director Doug Mullaney. "But we need to do what's best for West Chicago, and this is a very good option. I feel very good about a move to the Metro Suburban."
West Chicago's application is expected to be accepted by the Metro Suburban Conference, which has made no secret of its desire to expand from its current setup of seven schools. West Chicago's enrollment of 2,229 students would make the school by far the largest in the Metro Suburban, dwarfing Fenton's enrollment of 1,445 and Glenbard South's 1,391.
In the DVC, however, West Chicago's enrollment is seventh among the eight schools. Only Wheaton North, at 2,173 students, is smaller.
West Chicago's hope is that a move to the Metro Suburban will improve its participation numbers and competitiveness. In overall DVC standings since 2000 combining all boys sports, West Chicago has finished eighth 10 times while the combined girls sports have finished eighth eight times.
Only once since 2000 has West Chicago's boys teams not had the lowest winning percentage in the DVC. In that same time frame the girls teams twice did not have the lowest winning percentage.
"We're competitive from year to year in some sports," Mullaney said. "But overall it's been a struggle for most of our sports."
Mullaney said he's already met with the athletic directors in the Metro Suburban and anticipates a warm welcome once the move becomes official. After years of waiting, the time for action is finally approaching.
"It'll be a learning experience, but it's exciting," Mullaney said. "It's something that's been talked about for years, and now it's time to get to work."
Follow Kevin on Twitter @kevin_schmit