An All-Time High
Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens‘ focus on “broad-based excellence” continues to be illustrated in the Ducks’ annual Learfield Directors’ Cup finish.
The UO athletic department in 2016-17 posted its highest-ever finish for the third year in a row, taking ninth in the annual ranking of NCAA athletic departments. Schools can count their best 20 team finishes in an academic year, and Oregon took ninth despite fielding just 19 NCAA programs — more than a dozen fewer than top-two finishers Stanford and Ohio State.
The Ducks took ninth just a year after entering the top-10 for the first time in 2015-16, when the UO athletic department was 10th in the Directors’ Cup standings. A year earlier, Oregon was 13th, at that point its best finish ever.
The department earned 1,027 points toward the Directors’ Cup in 2016-2017, led by 300 from the women’s track and field program — 100 for each national title by the program in its historic “Triple Crown” year, the first by an NCAA women’s program. Oregon’s three national titles in 2016-17 were one fewer than Stanford and Oklahoma, and gave the Ducks multiple national championships for the fifth straight year, the longest active streak in the country.
The 100 points for the women’s NCAA Outdoor title contributed to Oregon’s 467 points during the spring, nearly half the department’s total for the year. The Ducks also got 90 points for the men’s golf team’s NCAA runner-up finish, 83 points for making the semifinals of the Women’s College World Series and 69 points for the ninth-place men’s NCAA Outdoor finish. The women’s golf team and both tennis programs also contributed points by reaching their respective postseasons.
In the winter, Oregon’s men’s basketball team reached the Final Four, and the women’s basketball team reached the Elite Eight. The Ducks were in the top 15 coming out of the fall, after the women’s cross country national title, a ninth-place finish for the men and volleyball’s postseason appearance.
This was the fifth year in a row Oregon finished in the top 15 of the Directors’ Cup standings, and the sixth such finish in the last eight years.