Posted Online: April 16, 2013, 9:41 pm

LTC approves football-only scheduling agreement with Prairieland

Comment on this story

By Daniel Makarewicz, danmak@qconline.com

The ever-changing local conference landscape will once again experience some shifting.

During a regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday in Galesburg, Lincoln Trail Conference representatives removed River Valley as a football-only member and approved a two-game football cross-over agreement with the Prairieland Conference. Both moves, which required three-fourths majority from league members, will take effect for the 2014-15 school year.

All activity stemmed from West Prairie departing the Lincoln Trail after next school year to start a co-operative athletic agreement with Bushnell-Prairie City, leaving the league with nine football programs and nine regular-season varsity games to fill. Looking to get an even number, the conference heard a presentation from Monmouth-Roseville representatives as a football-only member.

Monmouth-Roseville was not approved, failing to meet the minimum requirements. A league source said the Titans split the 12 votes from the league schools, falling three short of the three-fourths majority needed for entry.

"We discussed all of our options at length before making the decision to merge with the Prairieland Conference," Galva principal and Lincoln Trail Conference president Chad Cox said in an email to The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus. "We will work with the Prairieland to move forward on the proper protocols and procedures to make our football merger official and long term, if possible."

The long-rumored agreement with the 12-team Prairieland Conference means it will play two-cross-over games with the Lincoln Trail. With the two open dates filled, the Lincoln Trail will play out its schedule with conference games.

Cox said the Prairieland would only accept a scheduling agreement if the Lincoln Trail had eight teams. Because of that, River Valley was removed and Monmouth-Roseville declined.

"It's a solid move for the conference to keep the longevity here," Mercer County football coach and athletic director Nat Zunkel said. "It improves the competitiveness overall."

The cross-over pairings will be released at a later date.