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Local

Local sports: Amboy denied early TRAC exit, next move uncertain

Three Rivers Athletic Conference member schools on Monday voted to deny Amboy’s request to leave the conference at the end of the 2015-16 school year.

Monday’s meeting was attended by the principals of the member schools. Schools are required to give the current conference 2 years notice upon plans to leave, per the contract schools agree to upon entering a conference.

The decision held Amboy to that 2-year agreement.

“There wasn’t a lot to talk about,” said Chris Tennyson, principal at Fulton High School and president of the Three Rivers Conference. “For [Amboy], it made sense [to want to leave], and we understand they found a conference, but it’s unfair to the rest of the schools to be stuck with the resulting scheduling conflicts.

“Most schedules go beyond next year to the year after. That’s why conferences have that 2-year requirement, so others have enough time to find replacements.”

The decision comes about 3 weeks after the Amboy School Board had unanimously approved leaving the TRAC for the Northwest Upstate Illini Conference, taking the place of exiting South Beloit.

Amboy had hoped it would be granted permission from the TRAC to leave at the end of next school year, but the vote, which needed at least a two-thirds majority, put a stop to those plans. 

Tennyson said that number was met, although final vote totals were not
available.

Amboy’s next move is uncertain. 

Multiple phone messages left for Amboy superintendent Jeff Thake and athletic director George Schwamberger were not returned. A message left for Principal Joshua Nichols, who was present at Monday’s meeting, was not returned.

Tennyson said he notified IHSA executive director Marty Hickman and associate director Kurt Gibson about the possibility of Amboy leaving the conference anyway, though that isn’t expected.

Neither Tennyson nor Gibson have seen an instance where a school would break it’s contract with a conference. Rules are in place to deter such actions, however. One sanction is a fine.

“We have by-laws about contracts,” Gibson said. “They are indeed legally binding. In many cases, we’ll have issues with a scheduling situation, and it’s a school-by-school issue. Some schools will let others out of a game, but they don’t have to. They can hold that school’s feet to the fire if they wanted.

“With this, we would hope a school wouldn’t leave. There is a fine of a minimum of $100, and then whatever the board [of the conference] decides to bring to the school.”

As it stands, no decision has been made, and Amboy will play out its remaining 2 years in the TRAC. There is no word if the NUIC will wait an extra year for Amboy to join, as it will have a vacancy at the end of next season.

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