The Western Big 6 Conference, which has remained stable with its six original teams (Galesburg, Moline, Rock Island, United Township, Quincy, and Alleman) for nearly 50 years, will be expanding to eight teams in 2019-2020. Geneseo and Sterling will be added to the fold after deciding to leave the Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference earlier this year. Galesburg Athletic Director Jeff Flater believes this move is the right one.
“Bigger is not always better, and I think this conference has been a poster child for that wisdom of bigger is not always better. Six schools, it’s not a bad thing. But with the eight, we line up with both Geneseo and Sterling so well. We compete with them in everything just about. It made all the sense in the world,” he said.
The move will assist athletic directors tremendously for scheduling purposes, leaving the opportunity for 14 games against conference opponents as opposed to the previous 10. Some obvious question marks have to be worked out, especially regarding travel. Flater cited what would be the longest drive between two schools – the trip from Sterling to Quincy – which is over a 3-hour drive.
“We’re gonna do some things, and we’re going to have some creative scheduling so that’s not a big deal. We’ll meet. We’ll go to work as athletic directors and try to hammer out those schedules and come up with those outside-the-box type of thinking things,” Flater said.
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written by Jackson Kane