FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas earned its first top 20 finish in more than a decade in the final Learfield Sports Directors Cup released this week by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of America (NACDA). The Razorbacks accumulated a school record 811 total points and finished No. 20 in the ranking that tracks the nation’ most successful intercollegiate athletic programs. This marks the first time Arkansas has finished in the top 20 since the current scoring format was adopted in 2000.
Arkansas has finished in the top 25 four times in the past five years, the best stretch in school history. In 2010-11, the Razorbacks finished 24th in the standings. The other top 25 finishes during that span came in 2007-08 (24th) and 2008-09 (25th).
Arkansas finished second in the nation among programs with 19 or fewer sports and sixth among programs with 20 or fewer sports. The Directors Cup awards points for up to 20 varsity sports.
"One of the most successful years in Razorback Athletics has culminated with a top 20 national finish in the Learfield Sports Directors Cup," Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long said. "With 15 sports advancing to post-season play, our program earned more than 800 points for the first time in school history. To finish among the nation’s elite athletic programs with only 19 sports, is a credit to the more than 460 student-athletes competing for the University of Arkansas. Congratulations to our student-athletes, coaches and staff on this tremendous accomplishment."
In the spring, Arkansas earned 368 points including 83 points for baseball after the Razorbacks advanced to the College World Series and finished tied for third in the nation. Arkansas racked up 70.5 points from the men’s track and field team after the Razorbacks finished eighth at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. The women’s track and field team earned 48.5 points for a 24th place finish. Arkansas picked up points in both men’s and women’s golf with the Razorbacks earning 40 points for advancing to the NCAA Regional in men’s golf and 51 points for the women’s golf team’s berth in the NCAA Championship. The Razorback softball team racked up 50 points for its trip to the NCAA Tournament. Arkansas reached the regional championship game before falling to No. 1 California. The women’s tennis team also made post-season play earning 25 points for their berth in the NCAA Women’s Tennis Championship.
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.
The Directors’ Cup program has been tracking the success of the nation’s top intercollegiate athletics programs since 1993-94.