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UK ranked 34th in latest Directors' Cup standings

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3672611.jpegKentucky is on the rise in the Learfield Sports Directors' Cup standings after a strong winter.

UK has moved to 34th in the Directors' Cup standings, as of the April 7 rankings, thanks to a rifle national championship and NCAA Tournament appearances by the basketball teams, including a Final Four appearance by the men's basketball team. Kentucky's current position ranks fifth among Southeastern Conference schools.  

The Directors' Cup was developed as a joint effort between the National Association of College Director of Athletics and USA Today to rate the top athletic departments in the country. Kentucky uses the rankings as a measurement for its 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 athletic programs by 2015.

Kentucky appears to be on pace in its quest for 15 championships after capturing three more during the winter semester, one for rifle's national championship, one for rifle's Great American Rifle Conference regular-season crown and one for the men's basketball team's SEC Tournament title. In total, UK has seven championships (four rifle titles and three men's basketball crowns).

UK was ranked 98th in the Directors' Cup standings at the conclusion of the fall semester of sports with 50.0 total points. Nearing the end of the winter semester, as the Directors' Cup standings defines them (the final winter rankings will be released April 21), Kentucky has 343.00 total points.

The department picked up 293.00 points in the winter for placing first in rifle, third in men's basketball, 17th in women's basketball, 28th in women's swimming and diving, and 57th in men's track and field. Stanford, by comparison, has 902.00 points and leads the standings.

Stanford, which has won an unprecedented 16 straight Directors' Cups, has a built-in advantage over schools like Kentucky because of the number of varsity sports the department competes in. For example, UK does not compete in fencing, women's ice hockey, skiing and men's wrestling in the winter.

With the spring semester still to go, Kentucky is expected to pick up additional points in gymnastics, men's tennis, softball, and outdoor track and field. The final Directors' Cup standings will be released June 30.

UK finished 29th last year, the third-highest finish in school history and best since the 1997-98 athletics season, when the school was awarded the full allotment of points in men's basketball for winning the national championship.

In the same mold of the Directors' Cup, the Capital One Cup was recently created with the same objective but different parameters.

By definition, the Capital One Cup is awarded annually to each of the top men's and women's Division I college athletics programs in the country. Points toward the Capital One Cup are earned and tracked throughout the year based on final standings of NCAA Division I Championships and final official coaches' polls. One winning men's and one winning women's program will be crowned after the completion of the final NCAA spring championships. Unlike the Directors' Cup, only 13 men's and 13 women's sports are represented.

Kentucky is currently in a tie for 14th on the men's side of the Capital One Cup.

Each winning men's and women's athletics programs will receive the Capital One Cup trophy and a $200,000 donation to fund student-athlete graduate-level scholarships.


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