A plea from Mid-West 10 Football Conference officials to the Illinois High School Association regarding Peoria Manual's remaining contract with Eureka finally received a ruling. However, the outcome was not what the league wanted.|
Charlie Roy, president of the Peoria-based Mid-State 6 Conference, confirmed on Tuesday the IHSA supported Eureka's stance that Manual must play out the final game of a two-year football contract. Eureka has refused to void its contract with Manual, meaning the latter cannot play Moline in the regular-season finale.
All that's left to do, according to Roy, is Manual appealing the decision to the IHSA board of directors. Efforts to reach Manual athletic director Dave O'Day on Tuesday were unsuccessful.
"It's frustrating," Roy said. "This whole situation, part of it's created by (Chillicothe) IVC leaving the Mid-State 6 (after this school year) and joining the Corn Belt (which includes Eureka, in 2014). Part of it is us responding to a crisis created by another conference. All the schools are trying to come up with long-term situations to avoid these problems."
Being proactive, the Mid-State 6 was absorbed by the Western Big 6 to form the football-only league last July. Up until this issue went public two weeks ago, the Mid-West 10 was set for its inaugural season this fall.
Eureka, though, would not back out of its contract with Manual. After still refusing, Mid-State 6 officials issued a formal letter to the IHSA on April 26 for a ruling.
The IHSA would not allow Manual to escape the contract.
"We simply enforced the policy we have always adhered to with contracts," the IHSA said in a released statement to The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus. "The IHSA stance on any contract-related matter is that contracts are binding and contract issues need to be resolved mutually by the schools involved."
Without a Week 9 opponent, Moline still is scrambling to fill the date. Moline athletic director Todd Rosental said Chicago Marist is a possibility, but it would have to break a contract with a school from Kentucky. Another avenue is playing a Wisconsin school since it starts the playoffs a week earlier than Illinois.
As of Tuesday, that plan was preliminary.
"We're on the outside looking in on a situation that affects us," Rosenthal said. "I'm trying to get some help to rectify this problem."
Based on recent happenings, the IHSA board of directors appears to have the final say on the subject.
-- Daniel Makarewicz, firstname.lastname@example.org