Some would say tradition has been kicked in the teeth again.
Others would argue the whole thing was football driven.
While it would be hard to dispute either of those statements, the fact is St. Edward High School is in the final planning stages to leave the Suburban Christian Conference for the Metro Suburban Conference, where the Green Wave will begin competition this fall.
It will be the first time in school history St. Edward has been in a conference with public schools. From the West Suburban Catholic to the Suburban Catholic to the Suburban Christian, Elgin's only Catholic high school has always competed in an all-private school conference.
But St. Edward, along with Aurora Central Catholic, IC Catholic, Wheaton Academy, Walther Christian, Chicago Christian and Guerin Prep all made the decision to leave the SCC and join the MSC, which also includes private schools Timothy Christian and Illiana Christian, as well as public schools Fenton, Riverside-Brookfield, Glenbard South, Elmwood Park and Ridgewood.
So while we could debate the whys and why nots of the move until the Cubs have a winning streak, the reality is St. Edward becomes a member of the Metro Suburban Conference this fall.
And with that comes changes and preparation for the school, specifically for eighth-year Athletic Director P.J. White.
The No. 1 thing White has to deal with is formulating an entirely new schedule for every team at every level in every season. That has been a bit more problematic for White as he's not 100 percent sure which class St. Edward will be in in all sports as the IHSA's new Success Achievement policy takes effect in the fall.
This school year, the Green Wave were a Class 3A school in girls volleyball, girls basketball and softball and 2A in all other four-class sports. White has been in communication with the IHSA on the issue but hasn't gotten any resolution yet, leaving some schedules hanging in the balance, since Class 2A and 3A state tournament series competition in those sports begins a week apart.
There are also date manipulations to deal with.
"We have certain religious holidays and retreats that the public schools don't have to deal with," White said. "It's kind of tough to move those games around but that's life in the private school sector. The Metro Suburban schools have dealt with Timothy and Illiana for a couple years now so it's not something that's totally new to them."
The divisions in the MSC will remain the same for every sport except football, unlike the SCC, which has a different divisional setup for virtually every sport. In the MSC, St. Edward will play football in the "small" division along with Elmwood Park, Walther, Ridgewood, Chicago Christian and Guerin. St. Edward will also play Genoa-Kingston and Chicago Clark this fall in nonconference football games as well as MSC crossovers against IC and Riverside-Brookfield.
In all other sports, the Wave will compete in the larger division, called the West Division, with ACC, Glenbard South, Riverside-Brookfield, Wheaton Academy, Fenton and IC. In basketball there will be only one crossover, midway through the season.
Beyond that, the physical changes that have to take place are numerous as well. New certificates, new letterhead, things of that nature, are easy enough to take care of. New school banners on the gym wall will cost a little but are easily attainable. A more complex project will be removing the SCC logo from the gym floor.
"When we redid that 4-5 years ago I thought we'd never have to change it," White said earlier this week.
Then will come the actual competitive change. And as most of the school's programs will be taking a step up in competition, that also means Green Wave coaches will be challenged to cooperate even more than they already do.
"I really believe for us to be competitive we have to share our players. It's a different era. It's not the old days when the football coach and the basketball coach didn't like each other," said White, who is also the Green Wave's varsity boys basketball coach. "Now we're all working together. We need the two and three-sport athletes. We have a great football coach, an excellent soccer coach, a great volleyball coach and the basketball coaches ... we're all on the same page and trying to work together so kids can maximize the amount of sports they play and hopefully that will make us strong enough to compete with the bigger schools."
White also pointed out the MSC will offer competitions in other activities, such as math, the arts and music, as well as leadership conference.
"It's sad to see we're not going to be in the same conference that was legendary to us but at the same time our kids are going to be able to experience new things," White said. "It's a chance to make some new rivalries and some new friends, plus we still have some SCC schools with us and we'll be playing some of the others in nonconference games. We want to keep those relationships going.
"For our football program this is very exciting. For the other sports it will be a challenge but it's an exciting challenge. You never know the temperature of the water until you jump in."
And come this fall, St. Edward will be jumping in on the deep end, with the hope being it will swim and not sink.
Brieger to be honored: St. Edward soccer coach Tim Brieger will be honored with the St. Gregory the Great Award on April 12 at St. Edward's annual Tidal Wave celebration, scheduled to be held at the Marriott in Hoffman Estates. The award is given to a faculty/staff member who exemplifies excellence in education. Brieger is a 1991 St. Edward graduate and teaches social studies at the school. For further information on Tidal Wave, call the school at (847) 741-7535.