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Kentucky finishes 36th in Directors' Cup

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Mitch Barnhart's 15 by 15 by 15 Plan calls for the athletic department to win at least 15 conference, tournament or national championships and rank among the NCAA's top 15 athletics programs by 2015. (UK Athletics) Mitch Barnhart's 15 by 15 by 15 Plan calls for the athletic department to win at least 15 conference, tournament or national championships and rank among the NCAA's top 15 athletics programs by 2015. (UK Athletics)
After a slow start, Kentucky finished 36th in the final 2010-11 Learfield Sports Directors' Cup standings.

Boosted by a rifle national championship, a men's basketball Final Four run, a national quarterfinals berth by the men's tennis team and the school's first Super Regional appearance in softball, UK finished in the top 40 for the fourth consecutive year. Kentucky was eighth among Southeastern Conference schools. 

The Directors' Cup was developed as a joint effort between the National Association of Collegiate 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. The department picked up 339.50 points in the winter and 196.00 in the spring for a grand total of 585.50 points, the third-highest point total in school history.

Stanford, by comparison, finished with 1,550.25 points in claiming its 17th straight Directors' Cup. Schools like Stanford have 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.

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 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 is 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 finished in 22nd on the men's side of the Capital One Cup. The women were not ranked.

Florida and Stanford will each receive the Capital One Cup trophy and a $2000,000 donation to fund student-athlete graduate-level scholarships for winning the men's and women's standings, respectively.

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