Monday, September 03, 2007

Best College Sports Award Goes to Stanford for 13th Straight Year - See the Rankings

LawPundit is a Stanford alum. For your college or university, see the full rankings here.

Stanford University -- for the 13th year in a row in 2006-2007 --
won the U.S. Sports Academy & USA Today
NACDA Directors' Cup (pictured below)

Director's Cup

as the best college sports program in NCAA Division I . The NACD annually ranks all US colleges and universities by their placement in selected major sports for both men and women. The NACDA wrote:

"Stanford captured its 13th straight U.S. Sports Academy Directors’ Cup, scoring 1429.00 points. The Directors’ Cup is presented annually by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), United States Sports Academy and USA Today to the best overall collegiate athletics programs in the country.

The 2006-07 U.S. Sports Academy Directors’ Cup winners were announced at NACDA’s 42nd Annual Convention in Orlando, Florida, and the four winning institutions -- one in each of the NCAA divisions (I, II, and III), and the NAIA – were awarded with their U.S. Sports Academy Directors’ Cups.

In the fall, the Cardinal captured the women’s cross country national title, finished
runner-up in women’s soccer and women’s volleyball and were fourth in men’s cross
country.

During the winter NCAA Championships, Stanford recorded seven top-10 finishes: men’s swimming (2nd), men’s gymnastics (3rd), women’s swimming (4th), men’s indoor
track & field (4th), women’s gymnastics (5th), women’s indoor track and field (6th) and
fencing (9th). Stanford also scored in men’s basketball and wrestling.

In the spring, the Cardinal captured the men’s golf title, were runners-up in women’s water polo, third in women’s tennis, fifth in women’s golf and 10th in both men’s and women’s outdoor track and field.

Stanford scored in 21 total sports, but only 19 sports counted towards the final total, 10
women’s sports and nine men's sports."

In Division I, UCLA placed 2nd, North Carolina 3rd, Michigan 4th and USC 5th.

In NCAA Division II, the top five schools were Grand Valley State, UC San Diego, Abilene Christian, Minnesota State Mankato and North Dakota.

In NCAA Division III, the top five schools were Williams, Middlebury, SUNY Cortland State, Amherst and Washington (Mo.).

In the NAIA, the top five schools were Azusa Pacific, Lindenwood, Concordia (Calif.), Cedarville and Oklahoma Baptist.

The sports taken into consideration differ by NCAA Division,
with the sports included in Division I in 2006-2007 as follows:

Fall Sports
Men's and Women's Cross Country
Field Hockey
Football
Men's soccer
Women's soccer
Women's Volleyball

Winter Sports
Women's Basketball
Men's Basketball
Men's Ice Hockey
Women's Swimming and Diving
Men's Swimming and Diving
Men's & Women's Indoor Track & Field
Men's Wrestling

Spring Sports
Men's Baseball
Women's Golf
Men's Golf
Women's Lacrosse
Men's Lacrosse
Women's Rowing
Women's Softball
Women's Tennis
Men's Tennis
Men's & Women's Outdoor Track & Field

The Florida State Seminoles (15th) have the Top 25 Rankings in Division I at their website showing that Stanford still has a good margin to the 2nd place university, this year UCLA:

Directors Cup Division I Final Standings
by Ranking and Total Points


1. Stanford 1429.00
2. UCLA 1232.00
3. North Carolina 1161.33
4. Michigan 1135.25
5. USC 1103.50
6. Tennessee 1045.75
7. Florida 1042.25
8. Texas 1037.25
9. California 1030.00
10. Arizona State 1005.00

11. Duke 988.25
12. Georgia 971.00
13. Virginia 945.00
14. Ohio State 927.50
15. Florida State 924.25
16. Wisconsin 913.25
17. LSU. 888.00
18. Texas A&M 881.00
19. Auburn 866.25
20. Minnesota 862.75

21. Penn State 848.83
22. Notre Dame 789.50
23. Wake Forest 708.50
24. Arizona 703.33
25. Oklahoma 702.75

One can see here one of the main reasons for the great exasperation of Stanford alumni with the hopeless condition to which the Cardinal football program had been allowed to deteriorate, transmitting a totally false picture about Stanford athletics to the world at large.

Some people in Florida like Andy Staples think that Stanford won (and always wins) because of a massive scholarship endowment, but we have no way to check if that is true. Harvard and Yale have higher endowments than Stanford and annually finish as also-rans for the Directors' Cup.

However, the Gators also were simply beaten by the Cardinal in several major sports, for example, golf. Not even when Tiger Woods attended Stanford for two years before turning pro, did Stanford ever win the NCAA golf team championship. Here all teams have an equal chance. In 2007, Stanford won and Florida finished in a tie for 9th. Not enough good young golfers in Florida? Of course there are. Stanford certainly is not recruiting them with offers of more money, as no one at all on the Stanford golf roster is from Florida. As Hooked on Golf wrote, Stanford was ranked No. 1 all along during the year and, as it turned out, rightfully so.

In the men's swimming and diving competition, Stanford finished 2nd and Florida 4th. This has nothing to do with the relative school's endowment. The Stanford men's swimming roster does not have a single swimmer from Florida and predominates with Californians. The Florida swimming roster does not have anyone from California and predominates with Floridians.

Winning can of course be related to the question of money and endowment, but in the case of the Florida basketball and football teams, for example, it is also very much a matter of hiring the right coaches with the right philosophies of excellence. As written about Billy Donovan, the Florida basketball coach:

"... Donovan, who was officially hired as Florida’s 17th head coach on March 27, 1996, has certainly lived up to his national reputation as one of the nation’s top young coaches who preaches an up-tempo, full-court, pressing style of play built around a tremendous work ethic." [emphasis added]

When Urban Meyer was still coaching at Bowling Green, we suggested -- being a Nebraska alumnus -- to some people in Nebraska that they hire Meyer as head coach for Osborne's faltering successor. Unfortunately, those words fell on deaf ears. Meyer went to Utah and is now at Florida, where he won a national championship in his second year as head coach.

By contrast, the Cornhuskers are now in their fourth year with their new head coach and Husker fans are patiently waiting for Callahan to put them in the top 10.

Stanford University is definitely marked by a climate and culture of excellence and that climate fosters even more excellence. Money helps, recruiting is essential, etc., but a university culture of excellence is the key.

That is what, for example, marks the coaching of Larry Kehres, whose superb teams consist entirely of athletes without athletic scholarships of any kind. As we have written before:

"Jack Ewing, president of Mount Union College, is quoted by Simionich as saying about Kehres and the football team:

"This is a culture of excellence that I have never seen before." "

When Urban Meyer first went to Utah:

"The first day, he closed the doors, told us to take off our jewelry and headbands and told us it was time to get to work. He said there was no one to impress [in the weight room]. It was all work and business," all-MWC defensive end Jason Kaufusi said." [emphasis added]

Kehres too is all business:

"As Milan Simonich writes at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

He [Kehres] took a solid program and turned it into a spectacular one by emphasizing precision, mental preparation and weight training. "

Take a look at Jerry Moore, head coach of the Appalachian State team that just beat Michigan. That kind of a stunning upset does not just surface out of nowhere. Moore also is the product of a culture of excellence, having joined the Nebraska Cornhuskers as receivers coach in 1972, and becoming offensive coordinator under top NCAA coach Tom Osborne in 1978. In all of Moore's years in Lincoln, the Huskers were only once ranked out of the top 10 teams in the nation. Winning breeds winning. Excellence breeds excellence.

Stanford does not win the Director's Cup just because it has a larger endowment. There are many other factors, and excellence is one of them.

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