July 2, 2016
by Rob Moseley
Photo: Eric Evans
EUGENE, Ore. — Oregon athletics posted its highest ever finish in the Learfield Directors’ Cup for the second year in a row, according to standings from the 2015-16 academic year finalized Friday.
Buoyed by a national championship sweep in NCAA Indoor track and field plus another national title in men’s golf, Duck teams accumulated 973.75 points toward the Directors’ Cup. That ranked 10th in the nation, the first top-10 finish in UO athletics history.
The Ducks were 13th following the 2014-15 campaign, the department’s previous all-time high. Directors’ Cup standings take into account a department’s best 20 finishes in NCAA sports over the course of the year, and Oregon finished in the top 10 for 2015-16 despite sponsoring 19 NCAA sports.
“Broad-based competitive excellence remains a high priority, and this amazing result is a direct result of the commitment and work ethic of every person in Oregon Athletics,” UO director of athletics Rob Mullens said. “The direct connection of every staff member to the mission of Oregon Athletics has created a culture of excellence through a team-first approach.”
This was the ninth straight year that UO athletics finished highest in the nation among programs sponsoring as many or fewer programs. Stanford and Ohio State, which each sponsor 33 programs and only counted their best 20, finished 1-2 in the 2015-16 standings.
The Ducks counted 100 points each for the NCAA championships won by men’s and women’s indoor track and field, and men’s golf. Oregon and Oklahoma were the only Division I athletic departments in 2015-16 to win three NCAA team titles apiece.
Oregon is the only athletic department in the nation to have won multiple NCAA team titles each of the last four academic years.
The department’s Directors’ Cup score was further bolstered by top-four NCAA finishes from men’s and women’s cross country and men’s and women’s outdoor track and field. Men’s basketball was awarded fifth-place points after reaching the Elite Eight, as was women’s golf for reaching the match-play quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament. And softball earned ninth-place points after coming up a game short of the Women’s College World Series.
Men’s tennis contributed to the UO point total by winning an NCAA Tournament match for the first time ever, and the football and volleyball programs also added Directors’ Cup points. Oregon finished in the top 15 of the standings for the fourth year in a row, and the fifth time in the last seven years.