FAYETTEVILLE – A return trip to the Super Six of the NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championship helped vault Arkansas back into the top 25 of the Learfield Sports Directors Cup, a ranking that tracks the nation’ most successful intercollegiate athletic programs. The Razorbacks have accumulated 443 total points and are ranked No. 24 in the final winter standings released on Thursday by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA). The Razorbacks earned 73.5 points for their sixth-place national finish, marking the second time in the past three years Arkansas has advanced to the final round of the national gymnastics competition.
Arkansas is well ahead of last year’s scoring pace when the Razorbacks earned their third top-25 finish in four years. The Razorbacks ranked 38th with 365 points in last year’s final winter rankings before rallying in the spring to finish 24th in the final standings.
“We are excited to once again be ranked among the most successful intercollegiate athletic programs in the nation,” Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long said. “With the tremendous success of our fall and winter sports, we have moved into the top 25 are in great position to continue to move up the standings. Our spring sports are already in contention both in the Southeastern Conference and nationally. We look forward to their success and posting another top-25 finish in the Learfield Sports Directors Cup.”
Arkansas earned 320 points in the winter sports segment, led by 90 points from a national runner-up finish by the men’s indoor track and field team and the 73.5 points earned from gymnastics. The women’s indoor track and field team garnered 73.5 points for finishing in fifth place at the national meet. The women’s basketball team earned 50 points for defeating Dayton and advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The women’s swimming and diving team earned 33 points for a 41st place finish at the NCAA Championships.
This year, the Razorbacks ranked 43rd in the final fall standings with a total of 123 points, led by 75 points for the football team’s victory in the AT&T Cotton Bowl and a final top-five national ranking in the USA Today Coaches football poll. Arkansas also earned 48 points for a 14th place finish at the NCAA Women’s Cross Country Championships.
Arkansas is still in contention for Directors Cup points in the following spring sports: baseball, men’s golf, women’s golf, men’s outdoor track and field, women’s outdoor track and field, softball, men’s tennis and women’s tennis. The final Learfield Sports Directors Cup standings will be released in late June.
Arkansas has finished in the top 25 of the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup in three of the past four years, marking the first time in program history it has accomplished that feat. In 2010-11, Arkansas finished second in the nation among schools with 19 or fewer sports and eighth among schools with 20 or fewer sports.
The Directors’ Cup program has been tracking the success of the nation’s top intercollegiate athletics programs since 1993-94.