Woodstock, Woodstock North likely headed to new conference

WOODSTOCK – Woodstock and Woodstock North will seek approval from the District 200 school board in December to begin proceedings to leave the Fox Valley Conference and begin a new athletic conference beginning in the fall of 2015.

The departure process from the FVC is a two-year endeavor, meaning the Blue Streaks and Thunder will continue participating in the FVC for the remainder of this school year and 2014-15.

Woodstock principal Corey Tafoya, who made a presentation to board members Tuesday night, declined to specify what schools – or how many – would be involved in the new conference. He said he did so because schools involved in a possible jump have not had the chance to discuss the move with their respective school boards.

Athletic directors from both schools were present at Tuesday night's meeting and declined comment on the situation, referring all questions to Tafoya. Woodstock and Woodstock North coaches have been instructed not to speak on the matter until after the December school board meeting.

Tafoya said the idea to switch conferences came primarily from Woodstock officials, who have been in what he characterized as informal discussions with other schools potentially looking to leave their existing conferences to join a new league for the past 18 months. 

Tafoya told board members the amount of travel would not change and the remaining new members would be comparable in enrollment size to Woodstock and Woodstock North. He also said the travel for teams would remain about the same as it is in the FVC.

"We really think [leaving the FVC] is going to help our kids and, frankly, the kids at these other schools in a situation that favors all of us," Tafoya said.

Tafoya told board members the decision had nothing to do with the level of satisfaction with the FVC, but instead was due to the difference in size between Woodstock and Woodstock North and the rest of the schools in the FVC.

Tafoya said the decision to move ahead with the possible jump was spurred on by Johnsburg's decision to leave the FVC for the Big Northern Conference. Woodstock, which has an enrollment of 950 students, and Woodstock North, which has an enrollment of 930, are the two smallest schools in the FVC.

Some of the decision to look at a possible move came from feedback from coaches, whose teams have struggled to compete in the FVC. Tafoya said Woodstock and Woodstock North would maintain relationships with FVC schools and would look to play them in nonconference games.

"Our coaches at both schools have really been troopers through this because as we face these (FVC) schools, we just go in with a stiff upper lip because if they start to give into the (thinking) that, (with) these schools, we shouldn't expect to win, then they're just resigned to having mediocre programs," Tafoya said. "But I think our coaches have had very competitive programs at both schools despite being outnumbered pretty significantly."