Tennessee finished 37th in the final standings of the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup released on Thursday, the school’s lowest ranking in the 20-year history of the award.
The Vols did increase their point total from a year ago, bolstered by a runner-up finish by the softball team in the College World Series earlier this month.
The award, developed by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics, honors overall excellence in all sports. Programs earn points based on their finish in up to 20 sports — 10 men’s and 10 women’s. The tentative final standings were released June 14, but NACDA issued a final update Thursday to reflect the baseball season that ended earlier this week.
Stanford continued its dominance in the Cup standings, winning for the 19th consecutive year, 16.5 points ahead of second-place Florida. UCLA, Michigan and Texas A&M rounded out the top five.
Georgia finished 10th in the standings, giving the SEC more top-10 schools than any other conference.
At No. 37, Tennessee was ninth among SEC teams, behind LSU (19th), Arkansas (21st), Kentucky (25th), Alabama (26th) and Auburn (33rd) and in front of Vanderbilt (46th), South Carolina (47th), Mississippi State (49th), Missouri (53rd), and Ole Miss (61st).
The Vols earned 90 of its 619 overall points from softball and 73 from a fifth-place finish in the men’s tennis NCAA championships. But the Vols were
hurt by poor showings in baseball and track.
Tennessee was one of only five SEC baseball teams not to make the NCAA tournament and the Vols scored only five points from men’s track and none from women’s track, while many SEC peers loaded up on points in those two categories.
In last year’s Cup standings, Tennessee scored 606 points but finished 33rd.
The Vols have slipped in recent years after finishing 22nd (763.5 points) in 2010-2011, 16th (856.6 points) in 2009-2010 and 23rd (746.25 points) in 2008-2009.
Before 2008-2009, the Vols had finished in the top 20 in 12 of the previous 14 years.
Tennessee has finished in the top 10 twice during the Cup’s history. The Vols were eighth in 2004-2005 and seventh in 2006-2007.
Evan Woodbery covers Tennessee athletics. Follow him at www.Twitter.com/TennesseeBeat.
UT through the years
1993-94: 13th place