FAYETTEVILLE – Thanks in part to an unprecedented run in the NCAA Tournament by the Razorback Soccer team, the University of Arkansas ranks first in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) and 14th in the nation in the latest Learfield Sports Directors Cup standings released on Thursday by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA).
The Razorbacks are ranked in the top 15 for the second consecutive release of this year’s fall standings. Arkansas is the only SEC school currently in the top 25 and is 15 spots ahead of the next highest ranking league school (Florida – 29th). The third set of fall standings will be released on Dec. 24 before the final fall standings are released Jan. 9.
The Directors Cup is a competition that tracks the nation’s most successful intercollegiate athletic programs for their athletic performances throughout the year. This week’s standings reflect points awarded for men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s water polo and field hockey.
Arkansas not only earned a berth to the NCAA Soccer Tournament for the first time in program history in 2013, it recorded victories over Oklahoma State (2-1) and St. John’s (1-0) and advanced to the Round of 16 before falling to regional host Duke on penalty kicks in overtime (2-2; 5-3 PK). Coach Colby Hale and the Razorbacks earned 64 points for their national finish, marking the first time the Razorback soccer program has tallied points in the Directors Cup. The team finished the season with a record of 15-8-1 and ranked 24th nationally in the Top Drawer Soccer Postseason Rankings.
Arkansas has already earned 188.5 points this year based on the national finishes of the soccer and men’s and women’s cross country teams. Coach Chris Bucknam and the men’s cross country team earned 64.5 points after finishing 12th in the nation at the NCAA Cross Country Championships. Coach Lance Harter and the women’s cross country team tallied 60 points after a 15th-place finish at nationals. Both the men’s and women’s cross country teams won their respective SEC championships before going on to earn top-15 national finishes.
Arkansas has already earned additional points from the fall semester which will be reflected in future standings. Arkansas’ volleyball team advanced to the NCAA Volleyball Tournament for the second year in a row in 2013.
In 2012-13, the University of Arkansas finished in the top 25 of the Learfield Sports Directors Cup for the third straight year and the fifth time in the past six years. The Razorbacks finished No. 21 and accumulated a school record 830 total points to extend the most successful stretch of Directors Cup success in school history. In addition to last year’s 21st-place finish, the Razorbacks finished 20th in 2011-12, 24th in 2010-11, 25th in 2008-09 and 24th in 2007-08.
The Directors’ Cup program has been tracking the success of the nation’s top intercollegiate athletics programs since 1993-94.