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Highest finish in school history in national all-sports standings; fifth year in a row in the top 20

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Sparked by a national championship in rifle, an NCAA runner-up slot by men’s tennis, and third-place national finishes by women’s indoor and outdoor track and field, University of Kentucky Athletics’ historic run of success continues with the highest overall finish in school history – ninth place – in the final 2021-22 Learfield Directors’ Cup standings released Thursday.

The ninth-place ranking eclipsed the previous school record of 10th place in 2016-17.  UK Athletics also extended its streaks of five years in a row in the top 20 and 10 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 eight finishes in school history have been under current Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart, all of which have come in the last nine years.

“We’re grateful to our teams, athletes, coaches and staff for the achievements which have led to this unprecedented ranking. I also want to thank the Big Blue Nation, whose support is the foundation of our program,” Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said.

“The Directors’ Cup is a measure of success in the arenas and fields of competition. At the same time, our young people have maintained success in the classroom – school records this year for graduation rates and total number of graduates from athletics, along with extending our streak of 20 consecutive semesters with a department-wide 3.0 GPA.  

“We will celebrate those successes, yet we will never be satisfied.  Undoubtedly, there remains room for growth as we continue our quest of being among the elite athletics departments in the nation.”

The Directors’ Cup measures competitive success for 358 Division I schools. For each NCAA-sanctioned sport, points are awarded based on NCAA championship participation. This year, 18 of UK’s 22 eligible teams reached postseason play and scored points toward UK’s final Directors’ Cup tally.

In addition to the rifle title, men’s tennis finishing second, and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field each finishing third, UK also got top-25 finishes from men’s soccer and gymnastics (ninth), women’s swimming and diving (12th), football (15th), softball and volleyball (17th) and men’s indoor track and field (21st).  Complete national finishes and Directors’ Cup point totals for each sport are as follows:

  • Rifle – first, 100 points
  • Men’s tennis – second, 90 points
  • Women’s indoor track and field – third, 85 points
  • Men’s indoor track and field – third, 85 points
  • Gymnastics – ninth, 66.75 points
  • Men’s soccer – ninth, 64 points
  • Women’s swimming and diving – 12th, 64.5 points
  • Football – 15th, 60 points
  • Volleyball – 17th, 50 points
  • Softball – 17th, 50 points
  • Men’s indoor track and field – 21st, 52 points
  • Men’s swimming and diving – 31st, 43 points
  • Women’s cross country – 32nd, 27 points
  • Men’s Basketball – 33rd, 25 points
  • Women’s Basketball – 33rd, 25 points
  • Men’s outdoor track and field – 36th, 37 points
  • Women’s golf – 37th, 33.5 points
  • Men’s golf – 49th, 22 points

Here is Kentucky’s history in the Directors’ Cup, with progression of the school record in bold:

1993-94:             37th place

1994-95:             46th place 

1995-96:             32nd place

1996-97:             26th place

1998-99:             49th place

1999-2000:         70th place

2000-01:             37th place

2001-02:             36th place          

2002-03:             50th place

2003-04:             45th place

2004-05:             35th place

2005-06:             33rd place

2006-07:             45th place

2007-08:             36th place

2008-09:             34th place

2009-10:             29th place

2010-11:             36th place

2011-12:             29th place

2012-13:             25th place

2013-14:             11th place

2014-15:             22nd place

2015-16:             26th place

2016-17:             10th place

2017-18:             17th place

2018-19:             14th place

2019-20:             no standings because of pandemic

2020-21:             12th place

2021-22:             9th place

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