Wichita State athletic director Eric Sexton expects Dallas Baptist to join the Missouri Valley Conference as a baseball-only member in time for the 2014 season.
MVC presidents will vote by conference call Friday on adding Dallas Baptist. A committee of faculty-athletic representatives, athletic directors and senior women administrators voted last week to recommend the move.
“They’ll be a positive influence and a great addition to the MVC as an affiliate member in baseball, in my estimation,” Sexton said. “We support this significantly.”
Dallas Baptist is a private university with an enrollment of almost 6,000 students. It competes in NCAA Division II in all other sports. In baseball, it gives the MVC a significant boost, as last season showed. The Patriots, as an independent, played weekend series against seven of the eight MVC schools as part of a test run for membership. They helped Valley schools build an impressive strength of schedule. The MVC finished the 2012 season ranked No. 5 in the RPI, according to warrennolan.com, with five schools in the top 100 and two earning NCAA at-large spots. Dallas Baptist finished with a No. 26 RPI ranking and earned an at-large berth. Dallas Baptist went 14-7 against the MVC.
In 2011, Dallas Baptist played in a super regional.
"They played a Valley schedule last year, so we kind of saw what it would do to our conference," Evansville coach Wes Carroll told the Evansville Courier and Press. "They’re going to come in and make our conference stronger and deeper, which I think is a great thing for everyone involved."
Dallas Baptist and the MVC entered into the scheduling agreement with the hope it would lead to this spot. It did, but not as smoothly as schools such as WSU wanted. In September, Dallas Baptist announced it was joining the Western Athletic Conference for the 2013 season, citing travel costs and uncertainty from some MVC members about its suitability. Soon after, WAC membership changed and the Texas schools that once provided Dallas Baptist attractive rivals scattered to other conferences. Dallas Baptist will play a WAC schedule in 2013.
Given a second chance, the two parties are sticking together.
“We have a year’s worth of data that says our RPI is better (with Dallas Baptist),” Sexton said. “People wanted to see that data. We had high expectations for confirming their ability to help our conference. Now we have data that clearly shows they can help our conference.”