Options abound for Suburban Christian Conference schools

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Joe Chivari sounded like he might have woken up feeling a bit like Mark Twain — with a little Ronald Reagan thrown in — when we spoke earlier this week.

“I keep seeing these reports that the (Suburban Christian) conference is dead, but the conference is not dead,” the Marmion athletic director said emphatically.

Read his lips. Please. Any such reports are greatly exaggerated.

Chivari and his counterparts across town, Dan Beebe and Mary Lou Kunold at Aurora Christian and Rosary, respectively, have been peppered with questions since early May. That’s when news broke that seven teams from their league (including Aurora Central) were leaving the SCC after the coming school year to join the Metro Suburban Conference.

Bottom line? Those seven were looking for a scenario that would leave them more competitive in football.

That bombshell left the remaining six SCC schools in a five-team league since Marmion and Rosary are boys- and girls-only, respectively. The other three are Montini, Marian Central and St. Francis.

Their dilemma, of course, is football. A five-team league poses a potential scheduling nightmare for the respective athletic directors, save Kunold, having to find five non-conference opponents. Good luck.

“What’s happening, at this point, has not been decided but it’s very simple, the Suburban Christian Conference is staying intact with the five-six of us left,” said Kunold, noting the football decisions will have to come first.

Both the Chicago Catholic League and East Suburban Catholic Conference have invited the remaining SCC schools to apply for membership if they’re so inclined.

“We’re looking for what’s best for the group as a whole,” said Beebe. “The next two to four weeks, there should be some information coming out.”

Chivari didn’t seem as optimistic.

“I’d like to have something nailed down by (this) fall,” he said.

The ESCC is a nine-team league which sent six to the football playoffs last year and is comprised of Benet, Marist, St. Patrick, Joliet Catholic, Notre Dame, Carmel, St. Viator, Nazareth Academy and Marian.

The boys-only CCL is a 14-team league divided into three divisions for football. The five-team powerhouse Blue (Loyola Academy, Mount Carmel, Providence, Brother Rice, St. Rita) sent four teams to the playoffs in football while the Red (Hales Franciscan, Leo, St. Ignatius, Gordon Tech, St. Joseph) and White (Fenwick, Bishop McNamara, DeLaSalle and St. Laurence) each sent one.

“There’s no big news, we’re discussing options,” said Chivari. “With the ESCC and their situation, they would likely take one of us, three of us or all five to keep things even (for football, dividing into two five-, six- or seven-team divisions depending on the number).”

Could all five go to the ESCC? Highly unlikely, given that tiny Aurora Christian doesn’t offer as many sports and was unable to field a softball team this year, although Beebe thinks it will be back next spring.

An option with the CCL might be for five SCC schools to join the league in football only. It could then have another five-team division, which would allow for the bulk of the remaining schedule to be filled with crossover games.

“I wouldn’t mind a crossover with one school from each of the other divisions, I just wouldn’t want to have to play, say three, against teams from the Blue Division,” said Chivari.

There’s also the possibility of realignment, given Aurora Christian’s (Class 3A) size.

If the SCC five join the CCL for all boys sports, presumably Rosary and the others’ girls programs would be left to join the CCL-affiliated Girls Catholic Athletic Conference.

That’s why the SCC five joining the CCL for football only seems the most promising option, because it would allow the six schools to stay together for other sports.

“The six of us do have an unwritten agreement and it’s our primary option to keep the conference alive and attract other schools to join us,” said Chivari. “That would be ideal, if we could bring in, say, three other schools.”

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