The Missouri Valley Conference announced Monday that Dallas Baptist will officially join the league as an affiliate member for baseball and will be eligible for the league's automatic bid starting in 2014. The league's invitation is for a six-year membership.
DBU had previously hoped to join the MVC and even played a Valley schedule this spring as a step toward gaining full membership. Then, last September, the Patriots accepted an invitation to join the revamped Western Athletic Conference. But when WAC expansion began to crumble, DBU looked at the MVC once again. The relationship is clearly beneficial for the Patriots and the Valley both.
As the MVC press release emphasized, DBU's addition gave the league a significant boost in the Ratings Percentage Index in 2012. The league finished the season as the No. 6-ranked conference and sent three teams to regionals (while DBU earned its third straight at-large bid as an independent). The Patriots went 41-19 overall and 14-7 against Valley teams, finishing 23rd in the final RPI rankings.
"There's no question that Dallas Baptist University is a premier power in Division I baseball," commisioner Doug Elgin said in the release. "Their addition to our conference as an affiliate member in baseball will strengthen our position in the national landscape, and we're excited to commit to one another for a lengthy term. The Missouri Valley Conference has a rich tradition in baseball, and the addition of Dallas Baptist will make us stronger."
Southland Adds Incarnate Word
The Southland Conference announced that the University of Incarnate Word will make the transition from Division II to D-I and will join the SLC on July 1, 2013. The membership will coincide with the San Antonio-based school's four-year transition to D-I. Incarnate Word will participate in all of the Southland's 17 sponsored championships, including baseball. It is expected that UIW will begin counting as an NCAA Division I team for scheduling purposes in 2014-15, and will be fully eligible for NCAA championship events in 2017-18.
Founded in 1881 by the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, the university was originally chartered as a college for women, and only became co-educational in 1971. Enrollment will surpass 9,000 this fall, making it the fourth-largest private institution in the state of Texas, and the largest Catholic university in the state.
The Incarnate Word baseball team plays its home games at 1,000-seat Sullivan Field.
"The addition of UIW is an exciting development for the Southland," Southland commissioner Tom Burnett said in a release. "And, as we've discussed the possibilities of membership with our internal groups, it's been very evident in every conversation that the San Antonio metro area is very important to our university administrators and coaches. The city has always been vital to the conference, has played a large role in our historic success, and we look forward to continuing a mutually beneficial relationship with the city and a great new university partner."
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