Dallas Baptist University officially moved to the Missouri Valley Conference Monday as an affiliate member in baseball.
The Patriots’ remaining 13 sports teams will continue to compete in the Division II Heartland Conference.
SIU Athletic Director Mario Moccia said the vote to add a ninth conference member to the Valley was nearly unanimous by the coaches earlier this month and affirmed by the President’s Council, which includes elected officials from the various Valley schools, effective the 2013-14 school year.
“I was totally sold on (the move) from the beginning,” Moccia said. “They have been a traditional baseball power in the (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) since the mid ’80s. I think it’s great for the league, and I think it’s great for baseball.”
Last season, the Patriots — who had an enrollment of 5,545 in fall 2011 — compiled a 14-7 record against MVC teams en route to a 41-19 finish as well as an NCAA bid. The Patriots swept the Salukis in a weekend series April 12-14 and never scored fewer than 11 runs in a game.
Moccia said Dallas Baptist will boost the conference’s Ratings Percentage Index. RPIs assign teams a rank based on winning percentage and schedule strength. It is also used as a measuring stick for a team’s quality.The lower a team’s RPI, the better.
Dallas Baptist had an RPI of 23 last season. The Salukis’ was 114.
“One of the things the coaches around the league were saying was we needed to bolster our RPI,” Moccia said. “(Dallas Baptist) has a tremendous RPI. Even if they aren’t having a great season, they will still have the high RPI, which will help (the university).”
Moccia said other positives Dallas Baptist’s conference addition include are a warm weather climate, a market for alumni, a great media market in Dallas and a new recruiting pipeline.
“There’s no question that Dallas Baptist University is a premier power in Division I baseball,” MVC commissioner Doug Elgin said in a statement released Monday. “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.”