Another Top 10 finish for UGA in directors cup standings

Georgia's Matthew Boling (third from left) takes the baton for his leg of the 4x100-meter relay at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Eugene, Ore., in June. (Eric Evans for UGA Athletics)
Caption
Georgia's Matthew Boling (third from left) takes the baton for his leg of the 4x100-meter relay at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Eugene, Ore., in June. (Eric Evans for UGA Athletics)

Credit: Eric Evans

Credit: Eric Evans

ATHENS — The Georgia Bulldogs are back in the Top 10.

With the completion of the college athletics’ annual calendar in June, the final standings for the Learfield IMG College Director’s Cup standings were released Friday. The Bulldogs were back where they feel like they belong – among the nation’s top-10 athletic programs.

Thanks to top-10 finishes by both the men’s and women’s track teams, Georgia came in right on the number at No. 10. It was 10th time since the standings were founded in 1994 the Bulldogs finished in the Top 10.

The Directors’ Cup is an all-sports measurement of college athletic programs in which points are awarded based on each institution’s finish in NCAA Championships. Georgia tallied 971.5 points during the 2020-21 academic year, which concluded on June 30.

The Bulldogs’ finish was fourth among SEC teams. Georgia came in behind No. 5 Florida, No. 7 Alabama and No. 8 Arkansas. Eight SEC teams finished in the top 25.

Texas finished No. 1 this year, breaking Stanford’s 25-consecutive-year stranglehold on the Learfield Cup. No standings were kept for 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

There was a time when Georgia finished in the Top 10 almost every year. From 1998-2008, the Bulldogs finished in the top 10 seven times, with a high finish of No. 2 (1999) and a low of 15th (2003) in that stretch. But this year’s No. 10 finish is just the third since 2009 for UGA.

With a little luck, the Bulldogs could have finished even higher. Georgia’s baseball team (31-25) nose-dived at the end of the season to narrowly miss out on a third consecutive NCAA tournament bid. Men’s basketball also missed out on an NCAA bid.

Also, the Learfield standings do not include equestrian because the sport is not recognized by the NCAA. The Bulldogs won the 2021 national championship, their seventh under coach Meghan Boenig.

In all, 14 of Georgia’s sports 20-sanctioned sports, divided among men and women, qualified for NCAA championship competitions and contributed points. All of those sports recorded top-20 finishes at their respective national championships, including 10 top-10 efforts.

The men’s indoor track & field and women’s outdoor track & field teams supplied Georgia’s top finish, with both placing third at the NCAAs. Additional top-20s included men’s swimming & diving (fourth), men’s tennis (fifth), women’s tennis (fifth), women’s indoor track & field (fifth), football (seventh), softball (seventh), women’s swimming & diving (eighth), men’s outdoor track & field (eighth), women’s basketball (17th), men’s golf (17th), gymnastics (17th) and women’s golf (18th).

Georgia’s spring sports provided a boost. The Bulldogs were No. 16 in the final winter edition of the standings.

When it comes to the Learfield standings, it’s all about perspective. For Georgia, its No. 10 finish means it has finished among the nation’s Top 25 every year except one (28th in 1997) since the rankings’ inception. Meanwhile, Georgia Tech’s No. 44 finish this year was its best in the last 15 years and second-highest of all time.