FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Thanks to a pair of top-10 national finishes in cross country and a second-consecutive football bowl victory, Arkansas ranks 25th in the 2015-16 Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup Final Fall Standings released Thursday by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of America (NACDA).
Arkansas is one of only two SEC programs in the top 25 of the final fall standings. The Razorbacks earned a total of 187.5 points in the fall segment of the competition. In addition to men’s and women’s cross country and football, the standings released on Thursday included women’s field hockey, women’s soccer, women’s volleyball, and men’s water polo.
The Directors’ Cup tracks the nation’s most successful intercollegiate athletics programs for their performances throughout the year.
Arkansas capped the football season by winning its second-consecutive bowl game with a 45-23 victory over Kansas State in the 2016 AutoZone Liberty Bowl. The Razorbacks won for the sixth time in their last seven games, finishing the season with an 8-5 record.
Arkansas football head coach Bret Bielema became the first Razorback football head coach to win back-to-back bowl games after leading the Hogs to wins in the Texas and Liberty bowls. For its efforts, Arkansas earned 45 points to vault the Razorbacks into the top 25 of the final fall standings.
After both the Arkansas men’s and women’s teams won the SEC Cross Country Championship in October, the two squads earned top-10 finishes at the NCAA Cross Country Championships in Louisville, Ky., on Nov. 21.
The men’s cross country team capped its season with a sixth-place finish at the NCAA meet. Arkansas earned 73.5 points for the finish and now has ranked in the top 10 nationally in three of the past six seasons. The Razorbacks’ sixth-place finish was their best performance since 2006 when they placed fifth at the championships in Terre Haute, Ind. Sophomore transfer Jack Bruce was the top finisher for the Razorbacks collecting a top-25 individual finish to become the Razorbacks’ sixth different leading individual performer in six races.
Arkansas women’s cross country raced to a ninth-place finish at the NCAA Cross Country Championship. The Razorbacks were led by Dominique Scott who capped her phenomenal career by placing third overall to become a three-time All-American. This is the second-consecutive season the Razorbacks finished among the 10 best programs in the nation in women’s cross country.
Arkansas earned a program record 16th-place finish last year in the 2014-15 Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup. The Razorbacks finished the academic year with a program record 912.5 points, besting the previous point total of 830 in 2012-13 by more than 82 points.
Arkansas has earned a spot among the nation’s top 30 programs in seven of the past eight years. In addition to last year’s 16th-place overall finish, the Razorbacks recorded top-30 finishes in 2007-08 (24th), 2008-09 (25th), 2010-11 (24th), 2011-12 (20th), 2012-13 (21st), and 2013-14 (28th).
The Directors’ Cup program has been tracking the success of the nation’s top intercollegiate athletics programs since 1993-94.