Peoria School District 150 has now officially approved the merger for football only with the Western Big 6 Conference and the new alignment will be taking effect in 2013. Peoria Notre Dame had previously given it’s approval to the change. The move is necessitated, in part, by the fact that Quincy Notre Dame and Chillicothe IVC are leaving the Mid State 6 after the upcoming season. (www.pjstar.com).
The new conference will be played under the mantra of the Western Big 6, thus meaning the Mid State 6, at least for football, will cease to exist after the upcoming season. The conference has been known as anywhere from the Mid State 6 up to the Mid State 12 for the better part of fifty years. Many schools in the current Mid Illini conference are former members as well as the three Springfield public schools for a brief period back in the 80’s. While it is somewhat saddening to see the traditionally strong Central Illinois conference go by the wayside, it is just as refreshing that the new alignment should be outstanding as to the quality of teams and could even create a possible super-conference given the various programs involved that have long and powerful traditions on the gridiron. Scheduling and rotation details with respect to the new conference will be worked out at a later time. The move only affects football and the Mid State 6 should remain as such until things resolve themselves with respect to all other girls and boys sports.
In basketball news, the number one senior to be in the nation, Jabari Parker, of Chicago Simeon, suffered a fractured right foot two weeks ago. Parker was participating in the FIBA Under 17 World Championships in Lithuania when the injury occurred, although it is not clear when it actually did occur. Parker missed three out of eight games in the competition, but was otherwise strong when he was in there. (www.csnchicago.com). The foot should heal fine and the injury really just means Parker will miss the summer evaluation period by college coaches for upcoming seniors to be. This is more than moot as Parker will be able to name the place where he wants to play his college ball. Basketball has become a big sport in Lithuania inspired in large part by the Grateful Dead’s various donations of money and uniforms for the cash strapped Lithuanian Olympic basketball team in past Olympic competitions. Parker, absent something extraordinary occurring, could well be playing for the USA against some of his Lithuanian friends in the next Olympics to be held in 2016.