Marist High School’s football program will compete in a merged league of the Chicago Catholic League and East Suburban Catholic League starting with the 2019 season. The decision came after nearly a year of discussion and research among leaders of both leagues, and was passed by a unanimous vote by member school principals.
“This is an exciting move for all of the teams,” Marist Principal Larry Tucker ’79 said. “It not only strengthens the competitive component of our football programs, but unites schools with like Catholic missions and values.” Tucker also serves as president of the ESCC.
There were multiple factors that led to the decision. Chief among them were increased safety through like programs playing each other, the opportunity for increased success and participation among smaller programs, and the opportunity for natural rivalries to exist.
League officials will take into account male enrollment, football participation numbers, and results from the 2017 and 2018 seasons to create divisions for the 24 teams.
“This merger both raises the stakes for programs as they will face teams much like themselves, and levels the playing field for teams trying to improve and grow,” Marist Athletic Director Eric Simpson explained.
The new football conference will consist of the 14 full members of the Chicago Catholic League and the 10 full members of the East Suburban Catholic Conference.
CCL members include Br. Rice High School (Chicago), De La Salle Institute (Chicago), DePaul College Prep (Chicago), Fenwick High School (Oak Park), Leo High School (Chicago), Loyola Academy (Wilmette), Marmion Academy (Aurora), Mt. Carmel High School (Chicago), Montini Catholic High School (Lombard), Providence Catholic High School (New Lenox), St. Laurence High School (Burbank), St. Rita High School (Chicago), St. Ignatius College Prep (Chicago), St. Francis de Sales High School (Chicago), and St. Joseph High School (Westchester).
The ESCC members are Benet Academy (Lisle), Carmel Catholic High School (Mundelein), Joliet Catholic Academy (Joliet), Marian Central Catholic High School (Woodstock), Marist High School (Chicago), Nazareth Academy (LaGrange), Notre Dame College Prep (Niles), St. Patrick High School (Chicago), and St. Viator High School (Arlington Heights).
Further details about the merger will be announced as committee work progresses.