All DSU sport headed toward RMAC conference with new competitors, changes to come

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All sports for Dixie State University will compete in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, with every sport other than football making the transition from the Pacific West Conference.

DSU football is currently a member of the RMAC having joined as an associate member of the conference before the 2016 season. DSU will be the sixteenth member of the conference going into the 2018-2019 academic year. 

The RMAC is made up of schools from Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Nebraska and South Dakota.

There is currently another member from Utah in the RMAC: Westminster University, after it joined in 2015. There are also other universities in the state having been in the conference at some point: University of Utah 1910-1937, Utah State University 1914-1937, Brigham Young University 1918-1937, Southern Utah University 1967-1986.

“Change is exciting,” said baseball head coach Chris Pfatenhauer. “New facilities, new hotels and new teams to compete against is always fun. We will continue to go about our business the same way we always have and try to compete at a very high level, no matter who is in the other dugout.”

Pfatenhauer said the baseball schedule will slightly change. Baseball will now play Friday-Sunday series in the conference as opposed to their normal PacWest schedule of a Thursday-Saturday series, along with not playing night games due to colder weather in spring for other schools in the conference. 

He also said the athletes will miss more school than th team are accustomed to due to the travel to RMAC schools.

Basketball and volleyball will feature scheduling changes as well.

Men’s basketball head coach Jon Judkins said they will play on Friday and Saturdays with game time being at 7:30 p.m. for conference games. Volleyball head coach Robyn Felder said volleyball will also be playing on Friday and Saturdays whether at home or on the road during the season.

“The PacWest has always been a little scattered for us,” Felder said. “We had Hawaii teams coming over and San Francisco teams we would play all week. We would have Thursday matches, Monday and Tuesday matches, and there was never a real consistent schedule.”

Felder said the new consistent schedule will benefit athletes in the classroom with the team no longer having to make weeklong trips to California or Hawaii, playing sometimes four games in six days.    

Felder said the team will also benefit as the RMAC has a conference tournament, something the PacWest lacked, with volleyball only needing to finish in the top eight of the conference to make the tournament.

Most of the teams in the RMAC has a “traveling partner” with DSU’s being Westminster, Felder said. When teams travel to play DSU on Friday’s they will travel to Salt Lake City to take on Westminister on Saturdays, with Westminster’s Friday opponent coming to DSU on Saturday. 

When on the road DSU and Westminster will play on Fridays against different schools, with the matchups on Saturdays being switched.

“Now that we are going I think there are a lot of us [coaches] that are excited to create an identity in the new conference,” Felder said. “Excited to play new teams and have all of the [DSU] teams under the same umbrella in the conference.”

Pfatenhauer, Judkins and Felder all said they would miss the weather and the travel to Hawaii and California from the PacWest. Felder and Pfatenhauer also said they will miss the relationships formed with other coaches in the conference.

“No one really like to change things,” Judkins said. “But sometimes change is good. I remember when we got into the PacWest it took a while to get things right. We will do whatever we have to, compete in the RMAC like we did in the PacWest.”