SVC update: Five schools to join Dwight in Wednesday meeting, PBL may join Okaw if Dwight rejects offer

PAXTON — The Paxton-Buckley-Loda High School’s Extra-Curricular Committee met on Monday.

PBL athletic director John Overstreet was present at the meeting and said that he thinks Dwight is “very interested” in joining the conference.

The SVC principals will meet this Wednesday in Gilman.

Along with Dwight, the conference has invited five teams from the River Valley Conference to join: Cullom Tri-Point, Donovan, Gardner-South Wilmington, Grant Park and St. Anne.

“We are looking for expansion and some stability for all schools in the SVC,” Overstreet said. “The appeal is to appease the smaller SVC schools.”

The River Valley Conference is not a football conference. Therefore, the SVC will still need Dwight for the sixth football school.

When Shawn Young, PBL High School’s Extra-Curricular commitee chairman, asked if everyone agreed that PBL should stay in the SVC, all the committee members said yes.

For Iroquois West and Watseka, the backup plan may be to join the Vermilion Valley Conference if Dwight does not accept the invitation.

Overstreet said at Monday’s meeting that he thinks both schools will stay.

There is a backup plan that will be up for consideration for PBL if Dwight decides not to join the SVC.

According to Overstreet, that solution may be the very problem that started the mess with the SVC: the Okaw Valley Conference.

After nine teams left the OVC, the remaining three teams (Maroa-Forsyth, Monticello and Tolono Unity) expanded with SVC teams St. Joseph-Ogden and St. Thomas More, along with Rantoul.

“(The conference alignment) has been a mess,” Overstreet said at Monday’s meeting. “It all started with the Okaw.”

Although Overstreet and the PBL Board of Education indicated that the school wants to stay in the SVC if possible, Overstreet said the school would not turn down an invitation to the OVC if that was its best option.

“If we say we want in, we’re in (the Okaw),” Overstreet said.

PBL has until Dec. 14 to express interest in joining the Okaw Valley Conference. Watseka and Iroquois West have until Dec. 1 to do the same with the VVC.

The SVC also invited GCMS and Fisher to the meeting, but both schools declined the invitation due to what Overstreet said was their “allegiance to the Heart of Illinois Conference.”

Olympia, St. Teresa and Clinton, according to Overstreet, are unlikely to go back to the Okaw Valley Conference.

Overstreet also said the VVC and HOIC do not want PBL to join.

“They don’t want to go back to the Sangamon Illini concept,” Overstreet said.

Dwight Principal Dan Kaiser said there will be an informational meeting prior to the school’s Board of Education meeting on Nov. 14.

“Obviously, we’re interested in seeing what other conferences have to offer,” Kaiser said. “Our hat wouldn’t be in there if we weren’t. We’re now going to look at the advantages and disadvantages of joining the SVC and of staying in the Interstate Eight Conference. From there, the board will make an educated decision.”

He said a decision will not be made until at least a month after the board meeting.

“Right now, we’re trying to put everything together to make sure we’re making the right decision,” Kaiser said. "We’re not going to make any sudden jumps until everyone of informed and has had their voices heard. Overall, it comes down to what’s best for our kids.”

Dwight was not given a deadline for a decision on whether or not it will accept the SVC’s invitation.

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