Football merger with FVC among options explored by Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference

A football-only merger with the Fox Valley Conference is among the options being explored by the Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference, Kaneland principal Chip Hickman confirmed on Thursday.

The NI Big 12 will lose Dixon effective the 2014-15 school year and appears on the verge of also losing Streator, which indicated to conference members this week that it will accept an invitation from the Interstate Eight Conference if one is formally extended later this month.

"Within the discussions of possible conference re-alignment, there have been a number of possibilities in which we have considered," Hickman wrote in an email to the Chronicle. "The plans have included possible cross-overs with the Fox Valley, as well as a proposal that included a football merger. All of these are in the brainstorming phase and all possibilities are contingent upon NI Big 12 membership profile, which is unpredictable at this moment."

Dixon and Streator are both part of the NI Big 12's West Division, while Kaneland is in the East Division. The Fox Valley Conference, which also has two divisions, consists of schools in the northwest suburbs, primarily in McHenry County.

The NI Big 12 also has considered potential expansion targets to replace any departing schools, though those efforts have so far yet to yield any concrete solutions.

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