Kentucky posted its highest ranking in the history of the Learfield Sports Director’s Cup standings on Thursday, finishing 10th nationally and second in the SEC for the 2016-17 college sports season.
“I want to congratulate our students, coaches, and staff on this unprecedented top-10 finish in the Directors’ Cup, which is an important gauge of our competitive success,” UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said. “I am so thankful for their dedication and the way they continually make the Commonwealth proud. This is an important step toward our goals, but we are not going to rest in our work to establish UK Athletics as one of the truly elite departments in America.”
The previous high mark for UK Athletics was an 11th-place finish in 2013-14. The Wildcats have been in the top 30 for seven consecutive years. Prior to 2009, UK had placed in the top 30 only twice in the history of the Director’s Cup with a high finish of 26th.
Only Florida ranked higher this year among SEC programs.
The Directors’ Cup measures competitive success for all Division-I schools. For each NCAA-sanctioned sport, schools are awarded points based on NCAA championship participation.
Twenty-one of UK’s 22 varsity teams reached NCAA play to score points toward UK’s Directors’ Cup tally, the most in school history. The rifle, women’s outdoor track and field, men’s basketball, women’s indoor track and field, softball, and baseball teams gave UK six top-10 finishes. UK’s complete finishes by sport are as follows:
Department – 10th, 1,025 points
Women’s outdoor track and field – Fourth, 80 points
Rifle – Fourth, 80 points
Men’s basketball – Fifth, 73 points
Women’s indoor track and field – Sixth, 73.5 points
Softball – Ninth, 64 points
Baseball – Ninth, 64 points
Gymnastics – 13th, 58.5 points
Women’s swimming and diving – 14th, 61.5 points
Men’s soccer – 17th, 50 points
Volleyball – 17th, 50 points
Women’s basketball – 17th, 50 points
Men’s tennis – 17th, 50 points
Women’s tennis – 17th, 50 points
Men’s indoor track and field – 22nd, 50 points
Women’s cross country – 30th, 30 points
Men’s cross country – 32nd, 26 points
Men’s swimming and diving – 37th, 32 points
Men’s golf – 39th, 33.5 points
Football – 50th, 25 points
Men’s outdoor track and field – 59th, 12.5 points
Women’s golf – 61st, 11.5 points
UK’s goal, set as part of Barnhart’s Elite 1-3-5 initiative, is to finish in the top five of Directors’ Cup standings by the year 2022. Elite 1-3-5 also calls in each UK team to win a conference or national championship by the year 2022 and to continue the department’s streak of 10 consecutive semesters with a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or better.