By Jana Persky
Although the race was the closest in history, the result was the same as usual as Stanford claimed the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup, awarded annually to the nation’s best intercollegiate athletic program, for the 19th straight year.
With all sports except baseball completed, Stanford finished with 1261.25 total points, just 41.50 points ahead of second-place Florida. Michigan, UCLA and Penn State rounded out the top five.
The winner of the award is determined by assigning points based on a university’s finish in up to 10 women’s sports and 10 men’s sports. Since the award’s inception in 1992-93, the Cardinal has won every title except the inaugural edition, which went to the University of North Carolina.
A few weeks ago, there was some concern on the Farm that this could be the year when the streak ended. The Cardinal was in first place after a fall season marked by Stanford football’s Rose Bowl victory and a Final Four finish for the women’s soccer team, but fell to second behind Michigan after the winter season.
However, strong performances by women’s tennis (No. 1) women’s water polo (No. 2), women’s track and field (No. 6) and women’s golf (No. 13) allowed Stanford to hold off the competition by the slimmest of margins.
The women’s tennis team’s national championship — which came after dispatching No. 1 Florida in the semifinals — both locked up the Directors’ Cup and kept alive Stanford’s streak of 37 years with an NCAA team national championship.
Final Directors’ Cup standings will be released after the completion of the College World Series, but regardless of that result, Stanford will win the award.
Contact Jana Persky at jpersky ‘at’ stanford.edu.