MATTOON – Mattoon accepted an invitation to join the Apollo Conference and will leave the Big 12 Conference after the 2011-12 school year.
The Mattoon school board voted unanimously Tuesday night to accept the Apollo's invitation. The Green Wave will have the largest enrollment in the Apollo. In the Big 12, Mattoon has the smallest enrollment.
Mattoon's overtures toward the Apollo were rejected by that league four years ago, but the conference voted last month to extend an invitation to Mattoon after a shakeup among its members. Apollo members Robinson, Newton and Olney are headed to the Little Illini Conference. That leaves five schools in the Apollo: Mount Zion, Charleston, Paris, Effingham and Salem. A conference needs six football-playing schools to retain an automatic postseason bid in that sport.
An Apollo rule stipulates that schools leaving the league must give two years' notice, so Mattoon will join in 2012-13.
Mattoon's departure leaves the Big 12 with nine schools.