In the state of Texas, especially at the University of Texas at Austin, football is king. So after another sub-par season (and seeing Texas A&M and other colleges dominate recruiting in the state), it’s understandable that fans may be a little nervous about UT athletics rankings. Despite the football team undergoing a complete renovation under new coach Charlie Strong, the past year was actually a huge success for athletics on the 40 Acres.
The stellar performance of these athletes proves Texas has a lot to be proud of.
On Friday, the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics announced the 2013-2014 standings for the Division I Learfield Sports Directors' Cup. The standings are a joint effort between the NACDA and USA Today to award points to universities based on where they finish in the top 20 sports (10 women's and 10 men’s) for each school.
UT comes in at No. 6 nationally and was the top-ranked university in the Big 12 Conference. During the 2013-2014 academic year, the university boasted six teams with a top five finish and 15 teams in top 20 finishes in NCAA sports championships. The No. 1 spot for the Cup went to Stanford, followed by Florida, Notre Dame, Virginia and Penn State.
The No. 6 ranking is a major jump from last year’s No. 13 ranking for UT, and the school now boasts 15 top 10 finishes in the 21 years of the Director’s Cup. To their credit, other Texas colleges had respectable showings, including Texas A&M in the No. 10 spot and Baylor coming in at No. 31.
The Longhorns may not have had a dynamite season on the football field, but the past year was packed with many non-football highlights including baseball and volleyball championship runs. And Texas’ high standing this year should help fans breath a little easier about the upcoming football season. Many sports analysts think we’re due to finish in the middle of the Big 12 football pack in 2014.
Sports like men’s swimming or women’s track and field may not bring in the ratings (or money) that a football team can, but the stellar performance of these athletes proves Texas has a lot to be proud of.