LEXINGTON, Ky. – The University of Kentucky Athletics Department put the finishing touches on another chapter in the greatest run of comprehensive success in school history by finishing 14th in final 2018-19 Learfield IMG Directors’ Cup standings released on Friday.
“We have seen outstanding individual and team success this season,” Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said. “This success is worth celebrating, but it’s also motivation for us because we know we can achieve so much more. We are already looking forward to the 2019-20 season, when we will continue to pursue our goal of establishing UK among the elite athletics departments in America.”
The finish is third highest among Southeastern Conference schools and the third best in school history, behind finishes of 10th in 2016-17 and 11th in 2014-15. UK Athletics also extended its streak of top-30 finishes to eight. Nine of the 11 best finishes in school history have come under Barnhart, including the six best finishes in school history all coming in the last seven years.
The Directors’ Cup measures competitive success for all Division-I schools. For each NCAA-sanctioned sport, schools are awarded points based on NCAA championship participation. This year, 17 of UK’s 22 teams reached postseason play and scored points toward UK’s final Directors’ Cup tally.
Five UK teams posted top-10 national finishes: men’s soccer (fifth), men’s basketball (fifth), rifle (fifth), volleyball (ninth) and softball (ninth). Finishing just outside the top 10 were football (11th), gymnastics (13th), women’s outdoor track and field (14th), and women’s swimming and diving (15th). Complete finishes and point totals by sport are as follows:
- Men’s soccer – Fifth, 73 points
- Men’s basketball – Fifth, 73 points
- Rifle – Fifth, 73 points
- Volleyball – Ninth, 64 points
- Softball – Ninth, 64 points
- Football – 11th, 66 points
- Gymnastics – 13th, 60.75 points
- Women’s outdoor track and field – 14th, 61.5 points
- Women’s swimming and diving – 15th, 60 points
- Women’s basketball – 17th, 50 points
- Women’s tennis – 17th, 50 points
- Men’s tennis – 17th, 50 points
- Women’s indoor track and field – 21st, 50.5 points
- Men’s swimming and diving – 25th, 49 points
- Men’s indoor track and field – 29th, 42.5 points
- Men’s outdoor track and field – 34th, 39.5 points
- Men’s golf – 50th, 21 points
- Department – 14th, 947.75 points
UK’s goal, set as part of Barnhart’s Elite 1-3-5 initiative, is to finish in the top five of Directors’ Cup standings by the year 2022. Elite 1-3-5 also calls in each UK team to win a conference or national championship by the year 2022 and to continue the department’s streak of 14 consecutive semesters with a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or better.