LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 30, 2022) — Sparked by a national championship in rifle, an NCAA runner-up slot by men’s tennis, and third-place national finishes by women’s indoor and outdoor track and field, UK Athletics’ historic run of success continues with the highest overall finish in school history – ninth place – in the final 2021-22 Learfield Directors’ Cup standings released Tuesday.
The ninth-place ranking eclipsed the previous school record of 10th place in 2016-17. University of Kentucky Athletics also extended its streaks of five years in a row in the top 20 and 10 consecutive years in the top 30, not including the 2019-20 school year when there were no standings kept because of the cancellation of winter and spring sports championships. The Directors’ Cup began in 1993-94 and the best eight finishes in school history have been under current UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart, all of which have come in the last nine years.
“We’re grateful to our teams, athletes, coaches and staff for the achievements which have led to this unprecedented ranking. I also want to thank the Big Blue Nation, whose support is the foundation of our program,” Barnhart said.
“The Directors’ Cup is a measure of success in the arenas and fields of competition. At the same time, our young people have maintained success in the classroom – school records this year for graduation rates and total number of graduates from athletics, along with extending our streak of 20 consecutive semesters with a department-wide 3.0 GPA.
“We will celebrate those successes, yet we will never be satisfied. Undoubtedly, there remains room for growth as we continue our quest of being among the elite athletics departments in the nation.”
The Directors’ Cup measures competitive success for 358 Division I schools. For each NCAA-sanctioned sport, points are awarded based on NCAA championship participation. This year, 18 of UK Athletics’ 22 eligible teams reached postseason play and scored points toward UK’s final Directors’ Cup tally.
In addition to the rifle title, men’s tennis finishing second, and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field each finishing third, UK also got top-25 finishes from men’s soccer and gymnastics (ninth), women’s swimming and diving (12th), football (15th), softball and volleyball (17th) and men’s indoor track and field (21st).
— By Tony Neely, UKNOW
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