Hoping a conversation between both parties would result in a fix, Mid-West 10 Football Conference officials still do not have a scheduling resolution with Eureka.|
Mid-State 6 Conference president Charlie Roy confirmed Peoria District 150 and Manual administrators held a teleconference with Eureka athletic director Jason Greene on Thursday to see if the two sides could reach an agreement on the football scheduling issue. However, the conversation ended with Eureka still saying Manual must honor its contract for the regular-season finale in October.
Because the teleconference did not clear up the situation, Roy said the Mid-West 10 will formally ask the Illinois High School Association to make a ruling on the matter.
"I have the letter," Roy said. "I'll put it in the mail (today)."
From its perspective, the Mid-West 10 is frustrated the IHSA has to be involved in the process.
"I think it would be nice if the schools could figure it out themselves," said Roy, the Peoria Notre Dame principal. "(Eureka) has a contract, but in my experience ... everybody is usually understanding when there's realignment — you help each other out."
The league — formed after the Western Big 6 absorbed the remaining four Mid-State 6 schools in July — was set to begin play this fall. Until word leaked on Tuesday about Eureka refusing to void the contract with Manual, everything seemed ready to go.
Even after the story broke, Eureka still is not budging from its stance to complete the two-year contract. The Hornets are set to travel to Manual on Oct. 25.
"We're doing things the right way," Eureka principal Rich Wherley said. "Just because you're going into a new conference, you can't assume you can break a contract. If you have a contract, that's what you have to abide by."
IHSA bylaws state two schools must make "every effort" to find a mutual resolution when breaking a contract. If a mutual agreement cannot be reached, the IHSA board of directors may issue a settlement as a "last resort."
Wherley said he spoke with the IHSA on Thursday and was told Manual would have to honor the contract. This comes after Wherley said Eureka contacted Bismarck-Henning, which also has a Week 9 opening, about a game. No agreement was made because Bismarck-Henning wanted a home date.
The school, located near Danville, is too far a distance, Wherley said. Manual is 20 minutes from Eureka. Roy said the $1,000 offered by Manual to break the contract could alleviate the travel costs, but that was refused.
"Some people might have taken money," Wherley said. "We're not like that."
Uncertain with how this situation will end, Roy conceded the Mid-West 10 may have to wait another year to crown a champion. If Manual does play Eureka in the regular-season finale, Moline, which has posted its opening, would have a nonconference opponent as well.
That scenario means any game between the Big 6 and Mid-State 6 would be a nonconference date. The two leagues would have their own champions, but the Mid-State 6 could not have an automatic playoff qualifier because it does not have the IHSA-minimum six schools.
It's unknown when, or if, the IHSA will make a ruling.
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