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Schwab: Options crystallizing for SCC schools

Published: Wednesday, June 5, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

Likely offers from the Chicago Catholic League and East Suburban Catholic Conference are on the table, but Marmion, Rosary, St. Francis, Aurora Christian and the other remaining Suburban Christian Conference schools aren’t convinced a move that drastic will be necessary.

Those schools, plus Marian Central and Montini, are exploring their options for the 2014-15 school year and beyond after seven current SCC members announced on May 2 that they will join the Metro Suburban Conference, effective 2014-15. Those departing schools include Aurora Central Catholic and Wheaton Academy.

Marmion athletic director Joe Chivari said the remaining SCC schools will consider opportunities with the East Suburban and Chicago Catholic League, but said sticking together and looking to add replacements over time always has been “the primary option” if it can be worked out.

“The six schools that are remaining, when you stop to think about it, we are the cream of the SCC anyway,” Chivari said. “We all compete well against each other in all of the sports, so if we stick together, the six of us, maybe we can find three other good schools similar to our own and survive that way.”

Still, the schools are open-minded enough about looking elsewhere that detailed conversations are ongoing with the Chicago Catholic League and East Suburban. In the case of the Chicago Catholic League, the possibility exists that league members could join for football-only or perhaps an additional sport and remain in the SCC in other sports.

“They might even go as far as creating a fourth division in their conference to accommodate us, and then there are other sports that also are willing to work with us in scheduling, so it’s a little different offer than what the East Suburban Catholic offers us,” Chivari said. “It’s either all or nothing with them, you’re either in with them or nothing, where the Chicago Catholic League gives us a little flexibility with what we’re doing.”

Figuring out the football landscape appears to be the first step. Chivari said playing football in the Chicago Catholic League – be it as football-only members or otherwise – could consist of most of the current SCC members remaining as divisional partners, with some crossover games mixed in with other divisions.

“Nothing has been presented to us in a definitive way,” Chivari said. “One presentation was where Aurora Christian would be in a division with smaller schools and [Marmion, St. Francis, Marian Central and Montini] would be one division, and then they would slot another school from one of the other divisions with us to make it a five-school division.”

If the SCC contingent opts for the Chicago Catholic League – which only sanctions boys sports – Rosary would likely filter to the affiliated Girls Catholic Athletic Conference, which includes all-girls schools such as Mother McAuley, Resurrection and Queen of Peace.

Rosary AD Mary Lou Kunold acknowledged there’s not much Rosary can do to drive the process until football is figured out.

“We still have strong teams that are involved and continuing to be there for the Suburban Christian and hopefully we won’t find out scheduling is an issue,” Kunold said. “I’m hoping not. We can’t even start thinking how we want to proceed with schedules until we know [what’s going to happen]. It could be like [in soccer], right now we play each other once, maybe it will be twice and looking for a possible crossover with another [conference].”

Given all the administrative wheeling-and-dealing involved, a final resolution is unlikely to play out until the new school year starts.

In the meantime, given the amount of schools involved – several of which play high-level football – expect the rumors to keep flying.

“One thing people have a misconception about our conference is the conference is dead because those seven schools left,” Chivari said. “People are saying, well, now where are the other schools going to go. Well, we may not go anywhere. We may just rebuild the conference, so time will tell.”

• Jay Schwab is sports editor of the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached at 630-845-5382 or jschwab@shawmedia.com.

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