St. Joseph-Ogden, St. Thomas More to leave SVC

St. Joseph-Ogden and St. Thomas More are leaving the Sangamon Valley Conference.

As of Friday morning, the two schools officially committed to withdrawing from the SVC effective upon completion of the 2013-14 school year, said SJO principal Brian Brooks.

SJO and STM will join a new conference starting with the 2014-15 school year.

The conference will include Maroa-Forsyth, Monticello, Rantoul and Unity.

Brooks said the group will meet next week to discuss further details including a conference name.

“It may stay as the Okaw Valley Conference,” he said.

Brooks said the schools will also discuss which other schools to invite to the conference.

The SJO school board will approve the conference change at their November meeting.

“Both (SJO and STM) emailed principals of intent  to leave the conference,” PBL athletic director John Overstreet said. “They will make it official on Wednesday, but right now, it might as well be official.”

Overstreet said the news of SJO and St. Thomas More departing from the SVC did not come as a surprise.

“We knew both schools were courted hard by the Okaw,” Overstreet said.

The remaining SVC schools will meet on Wednesday in Paxton to discuss the conference's options.

The options discussed will include an attempt to add a sixth football school to the conference. If that can be arranged, the SVC will likely remain intact, and could look into further expansion.

Excluding SJO and STM, the conference currently has five football schools (Clifton Central, Iroquois West, Momence, PBL and Watseka). The SVC also has Cissna Park, which is in a football co-op with Vermilion Valley Conference school Milford.

If the SVC is unable to add a sixth football school, Overstreet said some other options would include merging the schools with another conference. Or even dissolving the conference altogether.

“I don’t know,” Overstreet said. “There’s options out there. Everything’s mere speculation and up in the air as far as what will happen to the SVC.”

On PBL’s behalf, Overstreet said the school hopes that the SVC can remain intact.

“We hope we keep it together and still have the SVC schools that we’ve played for decades on our schedule,” Overstreet said. "At this point, I don’t know if that will happen. We don’t want to be an independent.”

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