The Illinois Valley Central athletic teams may have found a home.

The Illinois Valley Central athletic teams may have found a home.

The Corn Belt Conference officials met Feb. 7 and extended an invitation to IVC to join as an all-sports member starting in the 2014-15 school year.

“Overall, we are very excited about this opportunity,” Kenton Bergman, IVC High School’s principal, said. “The schools in the Corn Belt represent communities that strongly support their athletics and student activities.”

Teams in the Corn Belt include Eureka, Olympia, Fairbury Prairie Central, Pontiac, Bloomington Central Catholic, Normal U-High and Mahomet-Seymour.

“In regards to our athletic programs, the advantages include level of competition, similar athletic offerings, multiple levels and consistency in scheduling,” Bergman said. “For IVC, the benefits of joining the Corn Belt as a full member school extend beyond athletics to include the performing arts, fine arts and other student activities such as scholastic bowl.

“In addition, the strong community support of the member schools in the Corn Belt results in numerous benefits for local businesses and the IVC community as a whole.”

The IVC District 321 school board voted 7-0 March 13, 2012 to join the West Central Conference for football for the 2013-14 season, leaving the Mid-State 6, which the team had played in for the past two seasons.

IVC’s football team parted ways with the North Central Illinois Conference after the conference disbanded in 2010.

“The high school administration has been in discussion with the board regarding conference affiliation for the past two to three years,” Bergman said. “Our board members have consistently offered their support and encouragement in finding a home for our athletic programs, student activities, etc.

“Factors that are typically considered by schools and communities include conference stability, member school size, program consistency, travel distance, competitiveness and similar levels for athletics and activities.”

For all other sports, the team has remained in the NCIC.

When the team joined the West Central, it was made clear that IVC could opt out if a conference was found for all the school’s sports.

The school board was set to vote on whether or not to join the Corn Belt at Tuesday’s meeting.

“We have received a formal written invitation to join the Corn Belt Conference as a full member school, beginning with the 2014-15 school year,” Bergman said Thursday. “This invitation will be presented to the IVC Board of Education for approval at their meeting (Feb. 26).”

If the invitation is accepted, the football team will play in the West Central and the other teams will remain in the NCIC during the 2013-14 seasons.