What BYU’s final ranking in the Directors’ Cup says about the sports program



It’s official: BYU is back. The school once again has one of the best sports departments in the country, according to the Ranking of the Directors Cup.

The Directors’ Cup quantifies the overall success of a school’s sports department by awarding points based on their graduation in each of the NCAA sports (at championship events or, in the case of soccer and basketball, the surveys).

Why should you care? Continue reading.

BYU took 17th place out of 293 schools in Division I with 871.25 points; Texas took first place with 1,252 points, marking the first time in the history of the Directors’ Cup that a school other than Stanford won the “championship”. Texas won national championships in men’s swimming and diving, women’s rowing, and women’s tennis, and came second in women’s volleyball.

BYU scored points in 14 sports. Of the 871.25 points awarded by BYU in the composition of the Directors’ Cup, 511.5 came from women’s sports – around 59%.

Almost half (49%) of the BYU points came from the sister sports indoor and outdoor track and cross-country, which are rated as six teams between men and women.

• The women’s cross-country team won the NCAA championships in March (100 points).

• The men’s volleyball team finished second in the NCAA tournament (90 points).

• The women’s athletics team finished seventh in the NCAA Indoor Championships.

• The men’s cross-country team finished seventh in the NCAA championships.

• The women’s volleyball team finished ninth.

• The women’s track and field team finished 10th in the NCAA Outdoor Championships.

• The soccer team was ranked 11th in the latest polls.

• BYU also achieved top 25 placements in men’s indoor and outdoor lanes, women’s gymnastics, women’s football, softball, women’s basketball and men’s basketball.

Of the 50 best schools in the final ranking, BYU is the only one that does not belong to one of the so-called Power Five conferences.

The University of Utah took 70th place in the final scoring of the Directors’ Cup, which is where school normally ends. Utah was 11th in the Pac-12 in Director’s Cup points. Only Washington State fared worse.

Utah Valley was 99th, Utah State 109th, Southern Utah 128th, Weber State 171.

The Directors’ Cup is important because it rewards broad sports programs. Schools should strive to provide opportunities for the development of a wide variety of skills – not just for extremely tall or very tall athletes (not just basketball and soccer players). That would be the equivalent of a university that only offers degrees in math and English, but not for the musically or artistically gifted or those who excel in the natural sciences.

For obvious reasons (money), most universities are turning into football and basketball operations with an affiliated university. These sports support the rest of the other sports, so their importance in the college athletics business model is not to be sneezed at. Some schools have eliminated some of the traditional minor sports – the Utes haven’t had a men’s or cross-country team in years – to meet the financial and Title IX requirements.

It is thanks that BYU has always produced a broad-based sports program that put up national programs in the Olympic sports such as gymnastics, track and field, cross-country skiing, soccer and, before the program was cut off, wrestling. Until a recent resurgence, the overall program’s success dwindled from around 2003 to 2018.

The Cougars saw their two lowest placements during these years – 48th in 2015, 45th in 2018 – since the ranking was created almost three decades ago. During the first 14 years of the rankings (1994-2007), the Cougars average was 24.6 (and would have been higher if the cup rankings had been tallied years earlier). Over the next 11 years, their average rank was 40.3.

Since then, the cougars have been trendy. In the ranking of the Directors’ Cup 2019 they reached the 29th place (there was no ranking in 2020). This year’s number 17 was the first time since 2002 that they landed in the top 25.

The Directors’ Cup just repeated the obvious: BYU had an outstanding school year on the sports field.


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