This one flew under the radar a little. Last year, it was a monthly topic on this board, mainly because we were a Top 5 team. But while we haven’t fallen off the map, we aren’t going to finish as high as we were last year. Let’s bring you up to speed on where we stand now.
Quick primer. The Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup has been the industry standard on the overall success of college athletic departments. They assign a point value to each sports team based on how they finish nationally. They add up all the points and, voila, we have your ranking. For those who think the Capital One Cup by ESPN is the “highly coveted” award in the nation, that is complete B.S. This is the first year of that monstrosity and it weights sports and points by TV ratings for that sports (i.e. Football and Basketball is worth more than Baseball and Lacrosse, which is worth more than Tennis and Rowing). So it doesn’t come close to representing athletic programs, just feeds into the idiom that college sports equals money. We all knows it does, but you don’t need a trophy for it.
Now that I’m off my horse, here’s where we stand. After the Winter Sports, Virginia sits in 20th place with 469.50 points. We earned 244 points in the fall for Women’s Cross Country (21st), Men’s Cross Country (17th), Women’s Soccer (9th), and Men’s Soccer (33rd), which was good enough for 10th place. In the winter, UVa earned 225.50 points for Women’s Swimming (13th), Men’s Swimming (8th), Women’s Track (30th), and Men’s Wrestling (23rd).
Why the drop? Two reasons. First off, we underperformed in several sports we excelled in last year, like Men’s Soccer. Secondly, we only participate in about half the winter sports other schools do. We don’t have bowling, fencing, ice hockey, rifle, or skiing. Tie that all up with 0 points for football or mens’ and women’s basketball and we are where we are. In the ACC, we sit 5th behind UNC (4th), FSU (7th), Duke (8th), and Maryland (15th).
But the good thing is the Hoos are poised to capture a ton of points in the Spring. As I see it we will get points in the following sports: Baseball (~70 points), Women’s Golf (~50 points), Men’s Golf (~35 points), Men’s or Women’s Lacrosse (~20 points), Rowing (~70 points), Women Tennis (~50 points), Men’s Tennis (~90 points), and Men’s or Women’s Track (~50 points). That equals about 435 points, which is well short of last year, but will move us up. How much? That will put our final point total about 914 points. Last year that was good for 13th place nationally and 4th in the ACC, which is about par for Virginia Athletics over the past 10 years. This year, it should be good for about the same based on the teams ahead of Virginia and their remaining points.
So root, root, root for those home teams. We will update again when the next standings come out in June.