The latest standings for the NACDA Learfield Sports Director's Cup (formerly Sears Director's Cup) have been released and Florida now stands in seventh place, up six spots from its No. 13 ranking at the end of the winter sports season. The Learfield Sports Director's Cup is awarded annually by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics to the schools with the most successful athletic teams across all NCAA sports.
North Carolina won the inaugural cup in 1993-94 and Stanford has won every year since due in part to its participation (and success) in such a large number of NCAA sports. Florida's best finish is second, which it achieved in 1997-98 (tie with UNC) and again last year (2009-10). The Gators have never finished lower than seventh since the award's inception.
The Gators' jump in the most recent standings is based on strong finishes in women's lacrosse (fifth), men's tennis (ninth), women's tennis (fist) and women's golf (10th). Stanford has a commanding lead with 1387.5 points, followed by Ohio State in a distant second with 1122.3 points. The Gators currently have 857.75 points, which also trails UNC (1070.25), Duke (991.50), Penn State (889.05) and Cal (873). The next best SEC school is Tennessee with 592.25 points, good for 21st place.
Teams are awarded 100 points for winning a national title and other teams making bracket style championships (such as softball or basketball) are awarded points based upon number of teams in the championship bracket coupled with their performance in the tournament. Non-bracket sports (such as golf or track) are awarded points based on bracket-converted team finishes derived from individual performances. Only football's points are based on final poll rankings (the USA Today poll is used). The scoring is fairly complicated, and is less-than-clearly explained here. There are a maximum of 20 sports counted per school using the top ten men's and top ten women's sports at the school. In other words, if you participate in fewer than 20 sports (like most do), you are already starting out in the hole.
Look for the Gators to make a serious jump in the final two updates (scheduled for June 17 and June 30), as the Florida softball, baseball and track and field teams are all serious contenders for national titles, and the men's golf team at least made the NCAA Tournament before a disappointing finish. The June 17 update will include all remaining sports other than baseball, which will be included in the final June 30 standings.