Come next football season, the Western Big Six will be no more.
As part of the football-only merger with schools from Peoria, the 10 schools that make up the conference will be known as the Mid-West 10 Football Conference when play begins next fall.
Representatives from both sides met Wednesday to finalize details, including the new name and hammering out a schedule for the next two seasons.
Games will be played under the Western Big Six format, with sophomore games followed by a scheduled 7:30 p.m. varsity kickoff.
United Township principal and Western Big Six president Carl Johnson said ultimately both sides wanted to make sure they made the right decisions the first time around and wanted to establish the same kind of stability that the Western Big Six had come to be known for.
“I can’t say enough good things about the guys from Peoria,” Johnson said. “They were very, very agreeable.”
By adding the four schools from Peoria, the new conference will play a conference game every week, eliminating the need for athletic directors to scramble looking for games to fill their schedule. Just this season, Big Six schools will travel to Chicago and Wisconsin just to find a game.
“I can predict the homecomings for about six years out now. It’s a great fit for us,” Moline athletic director Todd Rosenthal said. “We won’t have charter buses going all the way to Chicago anymore. It’s a great expense saver for us. These are tough times and we need to cut back on travel, and this is going to happen now.”
Leading the charge of establishing a new schedule was UT athletic director Mike Tracey. The Mid-West 10 schedules will be a two-part system laid out by a computer. The home team in Year 1 becomes the road team in Year 2. In Year 3, the schools will randomly draw their opponents order again. In addition, Tracey’s plan calls for no team to be either on the road or at home for more than two weeks in a row.
“It took us about three times to get it right with the parameters we wanted,” Tracey said. “I think we’ve got it. We wanted to make sure everyone had a home game in the first two weeks, and we got those things across. It’s not a traditional rotation system that we’ve used. It’s unique because it doesn’t roll over. That’s where schedules got unbalanced.”
The two sides hammered out only football details Wednesday, Johnson said. No other sports were discussed.
Rock Island Alleman athletic director Steve Smithers said the new name was a matter of compromise, but both sides had plenty of give and take on the day.
“A couple of us thought that there would be more obstacles,” Smithers said. “When we broke it all down and we had these discussions, we all came to an agreement that this is what we should do. I think at the end of the day we walked away feeling like, ‘Hey, we are a new conference.’”
Mid-West 10 Football Conference
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