Good evening, Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) sports fans!!
Many of you might not have heard of the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup. It is an award that honors institutions maintaining broad-based athletics programs success in many sports (including male and female sports). The Directors’ Cup, founded by the National Association of College Directors of Athletics and USA Today, began in 1993-1994 for NCAA Division I athletics. In 1995-96, it was expanded to include Division II, III and the NAIA. Each institution is awarded points in a pre-determined number of sports for men and women. The overall champion is the institution that records the highest number of points in their division’s Directors’ Cup standings. For NCAA Division I, there are 20 sports included (ten men’s and ten women’s).
The winter sports season has concluded – and, as such, we have an update on the final winter standings in the Director’s Cup. The Big Ten Conference leads all Division I conferences in the top-10 with four institutions, all coming in the top-five – Ohio State (2nd), Michigan (3rd), Minnesota (4th) and Penn State(5th). The Big Ten, in short, is flexing its muscles (expect Nebraska and Wisconsin to make moves to the top 10 next year).
My buddy Jeffrey Fann (@TalkinACCSports) has talked about the genius that is Jim Delaney. Make no mistake about it – the Big Ten’s revenue advantage over all conferences is the enabling all of their sports to improve – and you see the results so far in this year’s Director’s Cup.
That said, it’s rather amazing what the ACC has done given the revenue disparities. The ACC has three institutions ranked in the top ten, eight in the top 30, and ten in the top 40. North Carolina is sixth, Notre Dame is seventh, and Syracuse is 10th. Additionally, Virginia comes in at #11, North Carolina State at #22, Duke at #23, Louisville at #25, Virginia Tech at #27, Florida State at #33, and Boston College at #38 (Clemson is just outside the top 50 at #52). It shows ACC fans that we have a pretty group of athletic directors in this conference. It also shows you, though, what more money can do.