While the annual meeting of Western Big 6 Conference administrators on Tuesday afternoon produced no earth-shattering news, the league confirmed it did receive a merger proposal from the Mid-State 6 Conference last week with a little more than some expected.|
Big 6 president Danielle Edgar said "the proposal that we have received would include the implementation of a timeline for all sports." The proposal -- one Edgar said would be a "phased-in plan" in which sports are added over several years -- was discussed during the meeting in Galesburg. The only action taken by the league is saying it is interested in collecting more data and details from the Mid-State 6.
Edgar, the Quincy Senior High School principal, said the Big 6 will hold a special conference meeting in early June to further discuss its options with the Peoria-based league. She would not disclose proposal specifics or when a merger could start.
"At this time, we feel like we don't have enough information to move forward," Edgar said by phone Tuesday afternoon. "There is some interest in exploring additional details. We want to make sure we move slowly to consider all details."
Until Tuesday, it was unknown if there was any formal merger plans between the Mid-State 6 -- comprised of Peoria High, Manual, Notre Dame and Richwoods -- and the Big 6. During a meeting between the two leagues on April 23 in Galesburg, the Big 6 said in a released statement that "there is enough interest in exploring a conference expansion or merger to move the discussion to the next level."
Both Notre Dame and the three public high schools within Peoria District 150 held meetings last week with its respective administrations regarding discussions with the Big 6. Based on the proposal, those four are willing to work out an agreement.
The Big 6 did not completely tip its hand on its level of interest.
"We'll be able to provide more information when we get more information," Edgar said.
Until the next meeting, the Big 6 will do its homework on whether this is the best move for the league. Alleman, Galesburg, Moline, Quincy, Rock Island and United Township have comprised the conference since it formed in January 1969.
Such a move would cause significant changes within a league that prides itself on tradition. With that in mind, the Big 6 wants to be thorough in this process before making any decision.
Six speak about the Big 6
The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus spoke with six Western Big 6 Conference coaches and asked them their thoughts on a possible merger with the Mid-State 6 Conference. Here's what they had to say:
- Moline volleyball coach Tim Albrecht: "It doesn't make a difference to me one way or the other. I'm neutral. It doesn't change what we do."
- Alleman wrestling coach James Ealy: "I don't think it would be a bad thing. You get a few new schools. A team-10 conference, you've got to look at your duals with certain schools. You're only allowed 21 dual meets per kid (during the regular season). Who knows if they'd want to put in a conference tournament because you'd have to drop one of your four tournaments. It definitely would have some pros and cons."
- United Township football coach Ron Litchfield: "Where my program is at right now, I'm not sure we're ready to play a state championship-caliber team (such as Peoria Richwoods, which finished second in Class 5A last fall). I understand it's only one game. ... We may not have a choice. If it happens, it happens. We'll play them all. We'll line up and play as hard as we can."
- Galesburg boys' basketball coach Mike Reynolds: "I'm a traditionalist. It's worked well for 40 years. Certainly, I've got a biased point of view. The only sport it makes sense for is football. Beyond that, I don't see where it makes sense, at this point, for any other sport."
- Moline baseball coach Craig Schimmel: "It's probably more beneficial for basketball and football. I don't know what it's like for the minor sports. Richwoods and Notre Dame are going to field enough kids (for baseball), but I don't know about those other schools (Peoria High and Manual). If it works, I'm all for it."
- United Township soccer coach Phil Weaver: "From a soccer standpoint, I don't think we need to do it. But if they do, we'll deal with it. We'd just have to go on with things."
Erie, IL Details
|(More Print Ads)|