For the sixth time in the past seven years, Arkansas has earned a spot among the nation’s top 30 programs in the Learfield Sports Directors Cup. The Razorbacks finished 28th nationally in the final 2013-14 standings released on Friday by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics.
The Directors Cup is a competition that tracks the nation’s intercollegiate athletic programs for their athletic performances throughout the year. Directors Cup standings are divided into three intervals reflecting fall, winter and spring sports. Arkansas accumulated a total of 720 points to extend the recent stretch of Directors Cup success that began when the men’s and women’s athletic programs were combined in 2008.
Arkansas finished fourth in the nation among programs with 19 or fewer sports and eighth among programs with 20 or fewer sports. In addition to this year’s 28th-place overall finish, the Razorbacks recorded top-30 finishes in in 2007-08 (24th), 2008-09 (25th), 2010-11 (24th), 2011-12 (20th) and 2012-13 (21st).
“Thanks to the dedicated efforts of our more than 460 student-athletes, our coaches, staff and the vital support of Razorback Foundation members, the University of Arkansas once again ranks among the nation’s most successful all-sport programs,” Jeff Long, vice chancellor and director of athletics, said in a statement. “There were many outstanding team and individual performances this past year which enabled our program to earn a spot among the nation’s top 30 intercollegiate athletics programs for the sixth time since 2008. We appreciate the passionate support of Razorback fans in all 19 of our sport programs and look forward to another opportunity in 2014-15 to reaffirm our place among the nation’s best.”
Arkansas racked up 283.75 points by its spring sports, including a pair of top 10 national performances at the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Ore. The women’s squad earned 69 points for a ninth-place finish at the national meet after capturing the SEC outdoor title a month earlier. The men’s team finished tied for ninth in the final NCAA meet of the year and tallied 68.25 points.
The Razorbacks also received strong spring sport contributions from men’s and women’s golf and baseball. Coach Brad McMakin helped lead the men’s golf team to the NCAA Championship and an 18th-place national finish earning 55.5 points. The women’s golf team also made another NCAA run under Coach Shauna Estes-Taylor racking up 41 points for competing in the NCAA Regional round.
For the second-consecutive year, the Razorback baseball team earned an NCAA Tournament berth and advanced to a NCAA Regional final before being eliminated by No. 3 national seed eventual national championship runner-up Virginia. Coach Dave Van Horn’s squad earned 50 points for its 13th-consecutive trip to the NCAA Baseball Tournament.
Arkansas benefited from success in its winter sports, earning 222.75 points in that scoring interval. The Razorback men’s track and field team earned 90 points for a national runner-up finish at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in Albuquerque, N.M. Coach Chris Bucknam’s squad won the SEC team title before earning its third-consecutive indoor national championship or national championship runner-up finish. Coach Lance Harter led the women’s track and field team to another top 10 national finish as well. The Razorbacks earned 73.5 points for a sixth-place finish at the national meet. The Razorback gymnastics team earned 59.25 points while hosting an NCAA Regional at Barnhill Arena. It was the 11th-consecutive year Arkansas has advanced to at least the NCAA Regional round.
Arkansas got off to a strong start in the Directors Cup thanks to the success of its fall sports. The men’s cross country team earned 64.5 points after finishing 12th in the nation at the NCAA Cross Country Championships. 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.
Coach Colby Hale and the Razorback soccer team earned 64 points for a run to the Round of 16 in the NCAA Tournament. This year’s bid, marked the first time the Razorback soccer program advanced to the NCAA Tournament and the first time the program tallied points in the Directors Cup.
The Razorback Volleyball program also contributed to the fall total. The Razorbacks advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the second-consecutive season in 2013. The NCAA tournament appearance earned the Razorbacks 25 points in the final standings.