The path has been cleared for Glenbard East and West Aurora to join the Upstate Eight Conference.
Now, the question is when.
The Glenbard District 87 Board of Education voted 6-1 on Monday night to allow Glenbard East to accept the Upstate Eight Conference’s invitation to join. West Aurora’s school board voted late month to allow West to join, but the schools’ futures are seemingly tied together since the UEC wants to maintain an even number of schools for scheduling purposes.
Both Glenbard East and West Aurora are current members of the DuPage Valley Conference. The DVC Board of Control has indicated will require a full two school years’ notice before the teams are allowed to depart, but Glenbard East principal Josh Chambers said Monday night that is not necessarily in stone.
“I think it’s in all party’s best interests to move forward … with some speed,” Chambers said. “So I think now that will begin in earnest and we can again start to prepare to change the conferences. It was one of those things where now that the board has acted, now we can begin to truly move forward on this.”
The interwoven nature of the conferences’ membership was underscored when current UEC member Lake Park opted to leave for the DVC, and the UEC turned to DVC member West Chicago to replace Lake Park. Those changes will take effect next school year.
Earlier Monday, West Aurora athletic director Jason Buckley said he hopes the UEC remains welcoming of West Aurora and Glenbard East even if there is a longer lag time before the moves can occur than is desired.
“That was not something we really had a conversation with them about on our end,” Buckley said. “I’ve spoken individually to some athletic directors about that but I wouldn’t want to speculate about the consensus of the room.”
The UEC currently has two, seven-team divisions, with Batavia, Geneva, St. Charles East and St. Charles North part of the UEC’s River Division.
The composition of the divisions once Glenbard East and West Aurora join remains to be hashed out.
It is also unclear whether the additions of Glenbard East and West Aurora will swell the UEC from 14 to 16 teams since some of the logical, potential replacements for the two schools are current members of the UEC’s Valley Division.
Chambers said he hopes the DVC can find replacements swiftly enough that Glenbard East and West Aurora are allowed to join for 2014-15, the year for which the invitations were originally intended to apply.