Knoxville considering abandoning Prairieland for Lincoln Trail

District 202 could be leaving the Prairieland Conference for the Lincoln Trail.

Knoxville High School Principal Chad Bahnks and Activities Director Heather Smith informed school board members Monday night that the LTC had extended an invitation to the conference following the lead of Abingdon-Avon District 276.

Smith told the board that A-Town had been pursuing the possibility of joining the Lincoln Trail since around Christmas. The Abingdon-Avon school board will consider joining the LTC on March 13th.

Bahnks and Smith said that the PLC voted to add Macomb and West Hancock recently, but that vote failed to reach the 75-percent needed to approve them.

With Prairieland schools North Fulton and Peoria Heights shifting to 8-man football, and the conference moving further southwest – possibly adding Macomb and West Hancock, and the amount of travel already, Smith and Bahnks say that continuing to be apart of the PLC is not in the district’s best interest.

In the near future, the IHSA will have moved the football schedule from conference based to districts based on enrollment, but Bahnks says that may not be the case.

“So recently there has been a little bit of talk that maybe there may be another vote on that redistricting of things. So, again, in my mind, if that happens, obviously we look into the future. Probably the next two schools coming aboard the PLC will be Macomb and West Hancock. Again, that’s not in our best interest, but that also gives the PLC two years to try and figure this out.”

Smith told the board that there were many pros and cons to the change in conference. One big one that stood out was the travel time. With the possibility of West Hancock joining, that would put Knoxville buses on the road for upwards of two hours – which wasn’t doable for the district.

No vote to approve joining the LTC was made. Instead, Smith said that there will be a meeting with the PLC to address any concerns.

The indication from Knoxville coaches was that they were onboard the change in conference.

The story has been corrected to reflect that Abingdon-Avon had not yet approved joining the Lincoln Trail Conference. They vote on that Wednesday, March 13th.

Tags: , , , ,