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Kentucky 16th in latest Directors' Cup standings

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Kentucky slid three spots to 16th place in the latest Learfield Sports Directors' Cup standings, released Thursday by the National Association of College Directors and USA Today, just one spot outside the top-15 goal set by Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart in the athletics department's 15 by 15 by 15 Plan.

The rankings, the final of which will be released July 1, rate the top athletics departments in the country. Kentucky will have to rank in the top 15 by the year 2015 to achieve the 15 by 15 by 15 Plan, a department-wide mandate to win at least 15 conference, tournament or national championships and rank among the NCAA's top 15 athletics programs by 2015.

The latest sports to be included in the rankings are women's bowling, men's and women's gymnastics, and men's hockey. Because UK only participates in one of those sports (women's gymnastics, which received 46.5 points for an NCAA Regional appearance), it slid from April 3's 13th ranking to 16th at the conclusion of the winter sports.

Despite the drop, Kentucky is still on pace to break last year's 34th-place Directors' Cup finish of 607.80 points and currently ranks second among all Southeastern Conference schools. With a current total of 534.00 points, UK would need only 73.8 points in the remaining spring sports still in action (men's tennis, track and field, baseball and softball) to top the 2008-09 total.

More importantly, if the race were to end today, Kentucky's 16th-place standing would be the best in school history. UK's current Directors' Cup high is 26th place, set during the 1996-97 athletics season.

UK finished the winter sports with a total of 445.00 points. Only Stanford, Ohio State, Florida, Minnesota and Nebraska scored better in the winter.

The next standings will be released June 3 at the conclusion of the women's water polo, men's volleyball, women's golf, men's and women's lacrosse, and men's and women's tennis seasons.

We will continue to report on the updated standings over the next couple of months. Should Kentucky finish in the top 15 at any point prior to 2015, it would fulfill one of the two criteria set in the 15 by 15 by 15 Plan.

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