News From Terre Haute, Indiana

August 11, 2012

MVC taking votes on adding Dallas Baptist

Coaches, ADs already approve inviting school as baseball only member

Todd Golden
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Indiana State Director of Athletics Ron Prettyman confirmed Friday that the Missouri Valley Conference’s coaches and athletic directors have voted to invite Dallas Baptist to the Missouri Valley Conference as a baseball-only member beginning in the 2014 season. Earlier this month, the league’s coaches voted unanimously to admit Dallas Baptist to the league. At a later vote, athletic directors voted 7-1 for admission. The dissenting vote was cast by Bradley. Dallas Baptist’s admission to the league could be official pending a vote by the school’s president’s next week. If approved, the league’s President’s Council would invite Dallas Baptist, Prettyman said. If accepted, it could be done by Sept. 1. Presidents of all of the MVC schools — including the two Iowa schools that don’t have baseball programs — will get to vote. A vote for Dallas Baptist by the league’s presidents isn’t automatic. Reasons for resistance to Dallas Baptist’s admission to the league include the inclusion of a “southern” team into a league considered to be one of the best “northern” conferences in the nation. Another is the chance that the league’s automatic bid will go to a team that’s not a full member of the conference. There is also only one school in the MVC with a religious affiliation. Creighton is a Catholic Jesuit school. However, the benefits of Dallas Baptist’s inclusion were self-evident during the 2012 season. Dallas Baptist — a burgeoning power — played a partial league schedule in 2012 with the idea that the Patriots could be admitted to the league afterwards. Dallas Baptist’s high Rating Percentage Index (23rd) pushed the MVC’s RPI up with it as it played everyone in the league except Illinois State. As a result, the MVC was rated one of the top five conferences in the nation and it got three bids to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2000. ISU won two of three against Dallas Baptist in April and it was a major factor in the Sycamores’ at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. Dallas Baptist’s probationary inclusion in the MVC took place in 2011 and 2012. At the time, it was hoped the Patriots could be admitted to the MVC by 2013. However, Dallas Baptist elected to join the Western Athletic Conference in 2011, which had added several Texas schools to its membership at the time. The WAC collapsed earlier this year as several of its schools dispersed to join other conferences during another round of conference realignment, fueled almost entirely by football motives. Football-less Dallas Baptist was left without a baseball home. If admitted, Dallas Baptist would not be the only associate member of the conference. Central Arkansas and SIU-Edwardsville are associate members in MVC men’s soccer.