WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Western Illinois Schools Could Revive Olympic Conference

Jan 15, 2017

There is an effort to revive one of western Illinois' fabled high school conferences. Sherrard Superintendent Alan Boucher sent out letters the final week of December to area small schools about bringing back the Olympic Conference.

Former members of the conference include Macomb, Monmouth-Roseville, Knoxville, Sherrard, Farmington, Orion, and Rockridge. Boucher said he also sent letters to Kewanee and Brimfield to see whether those schools are interested in joining too.   

The old Olympic Conference existed from 1976-2010. It had just six members in its final year. Its former members have moved around to a variety of conferences since then including the Prairieland, West Central, and the Lincoln Trail. 

Boucher said the instability of those conferences, the long road trips schools must now make, and a lack of passion in rivalries are reasons why the Olympic's resurgence should be considered.

"When you have teams adjacent to your school district and yet you don’t play them because you’re not in the same conference, that to me just doesn’t make sense. And I think that we should try when we can to look for ways which we can all get in the same conference," Boucher said.

Right now, his proposal is in the discussion stage. A meeting with superintendents of the schools Boucher sent letters to will take place this month.

Boucher believes it's possible to bring back the conference.  He said some of the schools are already competing in the same conference on the junior high level. The Prairieland Conference for junior high sports includes Knoxville, Mercer County, Sherrard, Monmouth-Roseville, Orion, and Rockridge.

Boucher said many schools are locked into contracts with their current conferences for the next year or two so it might take a few years to revive the Olympic even if there is interest in the idea.