The chance to add Dallas Baptist to the MVC as a baseball-only member excited coaches and fans, at least those who pay attention to the RPI.
It didn’t work out. The MVC may get another chance. Dallas Baptist, wisely, opted to join the WAC last fall. The conference it planned to join no longer exists, so Dallas Baptist may be on the market again.
“We would be open to discussing and considering (the MVC),” Dallas Baptist athletic director Ryan Erwin said. “There were no hard feelings there at all.”
That is good news for Valley baseball, which received a significant boost this season from the Patriots, who played seven of the eight MVC schools in weekend series. DBU is a top-40 RPI team, and its addition to the schedule helped the MVC ascend to No. 8 in the conference rankings. Indiana State and WSU bumped up in the NCAA at-large discussion after winning series against the Patriots.
MVC associate commissioner Joe Mitch said the issue could be discussed at the conference’s spring meetings. Coaches are in favor of the move. Some administrators hesitated, largely due to the cost of busing to Dallas every other year for a series.
“Travel was the biggest concern, with Illinois State, in particular,” Mitch said.
The Valley and Dallas Baptist flirted with this season’s scheduling agreement, in which DBU played series at seven of the eight MVC schools (not Illinois State). Depending on how things went, the MVC planned to vote on adding DBU as an affiliate member. Those patient plans went ka-blooey last fall when Dallas Baptist opted for the WAC for two legitimate reasons.
First, MVC schools offered no guarantee. Second, the WAC offered three Texas schools and one in Louisiana within a four-hour drive for Dallas Baptist. That travel is hard to turn down.
Things changed when Texas State (Sun Belt), Texas-Arlington (Sun Belt), Texas-San Antonio (Conference USA) and Louisiana Tech (Conference USA) departed the WAC. Dallas Baptist will play a WAC schedule in 2013. After that, things are up in the air, and the WAC may not exist. Certainly, it is not an attractive baseball option with the schools that remain such as Seattle, Denver, Idaho and Boise State.
Erwin wants to see how the WAC shakes out. Maybe it works. Maybe it doesn’t.
“We’re keeping all our options open,” Erwin said. “We’d like to be in a stable conference.”
Both parties benefit for scheduling reasons. DBU gets eight weekends locked in. MVC schools add another weekend series, which are difficult to schedule in April and May. The Patriots, a super-regional team in 2011, help the MVC’s strength. It makes too much sense not to reconsider.