Since forming in 1975, the DuPage Valley Conference has been a model of consistency.
We've seen it competitively through the 64 IHSA team state titles won by the league, not to mention the countless individual titles. Every year the DVC figures prominently on the Mt. Rushmore of the state's top athletic conferences.
Perhaps more compelling is the consistency of the DVC field itself. Glenbard North, Naperville Central, Naperville North, West Chicago and Wheaton North have been members since the league's inception. Changing names and sites aside, some form of Wheaton Warrenville South High School also has been a member since 1975. Glenbard East joined in 1983 and West Aurora came aboard in 1997. Glenbard South was an original member for more than 20 years before leaving in 1996.
There's a clear identity in the DVC. Pride and prestige abounds among the eight schools.
Depending on gut-wrenching upcoming decisions, however, the face of the DVC might change.
This is the second in a series of columns addressing the fluid condition of conference makeups in DuPage County. At the heart of the change is the DuPage Valley Conference.
Before the holiday break we addressed the recent past. To refresh the memory, next school year West Chicago will join the Upstate Eight Conference while Lake Park, currently in the UEC, takes West Chicago's spot in the DVC.
Now that the holidays are over, a whole new batch of changes may be on the horizon. On Monday West Aurora's school board voted unanimously to leave the DVC and join the UEC beginning in the 2014-15 school year.
Because the UEC invited West Aurora and Glenbard East as a tandem, it's now up to Glenbard East to decide on a move. If the Rams choose to stay in the DVC, it's very possible the UEC will not take West Aurora on its own.
Where is Glenbard East with the process?
A Monday conversation with Glenbard East principal Josh Chambers revealed quite a bit. First, Chambers said he and his coaches are firmly behind moving to the UEC. Through my own talks with Rams coaches, I've sensed the same attitude.
Second, there was a turnout of about 30 people at a community forum before the holiday break at Glenbard East, and those who spoke voiced concern about increased travel in the UEC. A legitimate concern, but Chambers believes it is not a deal-breaker in the quest to leave the DVC.
“It's something we understand, and that's the kind of input we need from the parents,” Chambers said. “I still believe most people are in favor of the move.”
Chambers scheduled a second community forum for Jan. 22, after which he'll present the gathered information to the District 87 school board. If all goes according to plan, Chambers hopes the school board votes on leaving the DVC for the UEC at the board's Jan. 28 meeting.
A vote at that specific meeting is important because the UEC placed a decision deadline of Jan. 31 on Glenbard East and West Aurora. Based on the work done by Chambers, Rams athletic director Omar Davis and the entire Glenbard East team, the board vote may be an easy one.
And what about the DVC? League bylaws require two years notice to leave the conference, but we're already in the middle of the 2012-13 school year.
Will this year count toward the two-year notice and allow the two schools to join the UEC in 2014-15? It's a question the DVC Board of Control has yet to address.
Reached by email on Wednesday, board of control president David Claypool, Wheaton Warrenville South's principal, wrote that the board of control has not formed a firm deadline but will discuss the situation during its Jan. 16 meeting. Claypool acknowledged the two-year stipulation but stressed the bylaws do not specify if that means two years from Aug. 1, Dec. 1 or any other date.
What happens if Glenbard East and West Aurora end up moving to the Upstate Eight? The prevalent opinion holds that the DVC will simply grab among District 204 members Metea Valley, Neuqua Valley and Waubonsie Valley to maintain a level of eight schools.
It's nowhere near a slam dunk, though.
Wheaton North and WW South will be hesitant to add much bigger schools to the conference. Naperville Central and Naperville North already have one fierce DVC rival, thank you very much.
The DVC may also choose to send a very important message: Nobody is going to make this decision for them. The DVC will decide who joins, it won't just pick up schools by default.
Don't be surprised if the DVC sticks with six schools. It'd make football scheduling a little dicey, but DVC teams always could turn to the last resort of playing out-of-state schools.
Besides, it's not like area schools are beating down the doors of the DVC to join its field. That includes the District 204 schools, which obviously would need to reciprocate any potential interest.
A reasonable question to ask is why would any school want to be part of perhaps the most competitive athletic conference in the state? Ask just about any DVC athletic director and they'll tell you how difficult it is to schedule nonconference football games. As it is right now, few football teams want to play powerhouses Glenbard North, Wheaton North, etc.
The bottom line with everything moving forward is the DVC does not aim to immediately decide its future.
Part of that reasoning stems from the discussion at the top. The DVC is known for consistency and prestige, and any decisions will be made accordingly.
The faces of the DVC may change, but the mission will not.
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