Streator has been invited to join the Interstate Eight Conference for the 2014-15 school year as the dominos continue to fall in the ever-changing high school conference landscape.
Ken Miller, assistant to the superintendent in Coal City and president of the Interstate Eight, confirmed the news Thursday morning.
“The member schools of the Interstate Eight yesterday voted unanimously to extend an invitation to Streator to join the league in June of 2014,” said the former Coal City principal and football coach.
Streator had made a presentation to the league’s principals Wednesday at their monthly meeting. The league’s invitation will now go to the Streator School Board, which is expected to act on it at its Feb. 19 meeting.
Streator would replace Dwight, which is leaving the 12-member I-8 after next year to join the Corn Belt Conference. Streator is currently a member of the Northern Illinois Big 12 West, which is also losing Dixon (moving to Big Northern).
That will drop the Northern Illinois Big 12, which features two six-team divisions, to 10 members. The NI Big 12 East includes Kaneland and Yorkville.
The league is looking for replacements for Dixon and Streator but according to a Shaw Media report, it might also be interested in a football-only merger with the Fox Valley Conference.
Streator, meanwhile, would go from being one of the smallest schools — 876 students — in its current league to the largest in its new league. Sandwich, at 750, currently holds that distinction.
Miller said travel distance wasn’t a major concern of I-8 schools in considering Streator’s invitation.
“When you look at our mileage, Sandwich to Herscher is a long one, too,” Miller said. “From Streator to Lisle and Westmont aren’t easy trips but they’re basically all Interstate and you make it every other year. We’re always having to take a long look at scheduling and try to make sure to limit those long trips, especially for midweek dates.”
The I-8 currently divides into two six-team divisions by size for football and requires each school to also play four crossover games with schools in the other division. That policy is likely to be reviewed once Streator comes on board. Streator has shared a conference affiliation with its arch-rival, Ottawa, and Sterling since 1958.