LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 2, 2021) — Sparked by a pair of national championships, University of Kentucky Athletics’ historic run of success continues with the third-highest finish in school history — 12th place — in the final 2020-21 Learfield IMG College Directors’ Cup standings released Friday.
“In the most challenging year in our memory, and perhaps the most challenging year in collegiate athletics history, our teams, athletes, coaches and staff persevered with much success,” Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said. “We will celebrate this success, and also use it for motivation as we look ahead to the coming year in our pursuit of being among the elite athletics departments in the nation.”
The finish is third-best in school history, behind standings of 10th in 2016-17 and 11th in 2014-15. UK Athletics also extended its streaks of four years in a row in the Top 20 and nine consecutive years in the Top 30, not including the 2019-20 school year when there were no standings kept because of the cancellation of winter and spring sports championships. The Directors’ Cup began in 1993-94 and the best seven finishes in school history have been under Barnhart, all of which have come in the last eight years.
The Directors’ Cup measures competitive success for more than 350 Division I schools. For each NCAA-sanctioned sport, points are awarded based on NCAA championship participation. This year, 16 of UK’s 22 teams reached postseason play and scored points toward UK’s final Directors’ Cup tally.
Rifle and volleyball led the way with national championships and three more finished ninth, gymnastics, men’s soccer and softball. Also landing in the Top 20 were women’s swimming and diving (11th), women’s indoor track and field (13th), men’s indoor track and field (14th), men’s outdoor track and field (15th), women’s basketball (17th), men’s tennis (17th), women’s tennis (17th) and women’s golf (18th). Complete finishes and point totals by sport are as follows:
- Rifle – first, 100 points
- Volleyball – first, 100 points
- Gymnastics – ninth, 66.75 points
- Men’s soccer – ninth, 64 points
- Softball – ninth, 64 points
- Women’s swimming and diving – 11th, 66 points
- Women’s indoor track and field – 13th, 63 points
- Men’s indoor track and field – 14th, 60.75 points
- Men’s outdoor track and field – 15th, 59.25 points
- Women’s basketball – 17th, 50 points
- Women’s tennis – 17th, 50 points
- Men’s tennis – 17th, 50 points
- Women’s golf – 18th, 55.5 points
- Women’s track and field – 21st, 52 points
- Football – 26th, 45 points
- Men’s swimming and diving – 30th, 11 points
As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.
In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.