Welcome to the Era of Mobility in IHSA football.
From schools moving and changing conferences — literally overnight — to families picking up and moving from town to town, to anything you need to know nowadays, you're either the quick or the dead.
Conferences, once a home for stability and a way to truly identify schools and tradition have been splintering by the day. From Decatur to Chicago, the Quad Cities and all points in between, things just don't look like they used to — even compared to just a few short years ago.
The tradition-heavy Chicago Catholic League now has grown from three divisions to four with the addition of the CCL Green. The new division includes Fenwick and De La Salle, along with three former Suburban Christian Blue refugees: Montini Catholic, St. Francis and Marmion Academy. It's a terrific grouping of conferences for football for sure, but how long will schools in, say, Aurora want to make the non-football commute to say De La Salle in the middle of the week?
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The mighty DuPage Valley is also now a part of the Era of Mobility. Out this season is West Aurora and Glenbard East. They move to the Upstate 8 conference. The DuPage Valley — for 2014 — will have just six teams and each school will need to play one DVC team twice this season: one game in conference and one counted as an IHSA out-of-conference game. In many cases, that's like Michigan needing to play Ohio State, not once, but twice a season.
In 2015, the DuPage Valley goes from 70 mph to 100 mph when neighborhood rivals Neuqua Valley, Waubonsie Valley and Metea Valley leave the Upstate 8 and join the DVC.
And with everything I'm hearing from coaches and administrators, the Era of Mobility has truly just begun. Expect many more teams to jump the SS Conference and swim to other ships in a heartbeat.
Yet, the Age of Mobility is more than just teams jumping ship.
This year we have seen more transfers, including the almost unheard-of senior year transfer. Kids and families are picking up and moving in droves. Families are transferring now in greater numbers for many reasons, some for family issues and/or economic hardships — all of which are totally understandable. Yet, in too many other cases kids and families are leaving a school after three years for athletic reasons. Simple as that.
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Remember when everyone pointed the finger and shook their heads in shame at basketball and AAU travel teams? Everyone scolded hoops for non-stop cross country travel and recruiting both at the college level and the AAU/travel/street level? Football is right there in many regards with hoops.
Looking for scores, updates and breaking news? Twitter is the name of the game. Instant access and instant updates, whether reliable or nonsense. Shoot first then ask questions later.
Kids are also drawing football scholarship offers younger and younger. If you don't have at least a handful of verbal offers entering your junior season, you're already behind. Colleges are offering scholarships to many who have yet seen the varsity field. In the Era of Mobility, it's all about being first and that includes being the first school to offer a 14-15 year old a scholarship offer. It's all about speed in this new era.
So stay tuned and hang on. We'll try to keep up and keep you informed all season long. Yet, as soon as I finish this story, I most likely just missed something breaking.