June 22, 2006

On the verge of its first-ever top 10 finish, the University of Notre Dame stands in fifth place in the second spring standings released in the 2005-06 United States Sports Academy Division I Directors’ Cup all-sports competition sponsored by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (formerly known as Sears Directors’ Cup).

So far in spring sports competition, Notre Dame has earned 343 points thanks to its record-tying quarterfinal appearance in the NCAA women’s tennis competition (73 points), a round of 16 NCAA appearance in men’s tennis (64), an NCAA semifinal appearance in women’s lacrosse (41.5), a program-best ninth-place finish in the NCAA rowing championships (37), a first-round NCAA men’s lacrosse appearance (12.5), a regional finalist appearance in NCAA softball (50), a 50th-place finish in NCAA men’s golf (23) and a 32nd-place finish in NCAA women’s outdoor track and field (42, displacing the women’s indoor track points).

Left to come this spring are points from Notre Dame’s NCAA regional participation in baseball. Point values in ’06 for Irish men’s and women’s lacrosse are half what they have been in past years, because this is the initial year the NACDA Cup scoring system permits allocations of only 50 percent of points for sports which have an NCAA participation rate of 25 percent or less.

In winter sports NCAA competitions, the Irish earned 125.5 points based on their fourth-place finish in fencing (40 points), a 33rd-place finish in men’s indoor track and field (39.5), a 39th-place finish in women’s indoor track and field (would have been 32.5, but the value was zero points because the women’s outdoor track total was higher and only the larger of the indoor and outdoor figures is counted), a 41st-place finish in women’s swimming (21) and a first-round NCAA appearance in women’s basketball (25).

Fall NCAA competition earned the Irish 412 points based on their third-place finish in men’s cross country (85 points), their seventh-place finish in women’s cross country (69 points), their quarterfinal appearance in women’s soccer (73), their third-round appearance in men’s soccer (64), their regional semifinal appearance in women’s volleyball (64) and their 11th-place finish in football based on the final USA Today poll (57). Notre Dame ranked atop the final fall standings for the second straight year – and its 412 points marked its highest-ever fall total.

Stanford (1133.375 points) is first, thanks to its ’05 NCAA title in women’s cross country, its ’06 title in women’s tennis and runnerup finishes in men’s water polo and women’s indoor track and field. UCLA (’06 NCAA champion in women’s water polo and men’s volleyball) is second (1046.375 points), followed by Texas (’06 women’s indoor track and field NCAA champion).

The current standings include results from NCAA fall competition in women’s field hockey, men’s and women’s cross country, women’s volleyball, men’s Division I-A and I-AA football, men’s and women’s soccer, and men’s water polo – plus winter competition in men’s and women’s basketball, women’s bowling, men’s and women’s ice hockey, men’s and women’s gymnastics, fencing, rifle, skiing, men’s and women’s swimming, men’s wrestling, and men’s and women’s indoor track and field – along with spring competition in women’s golf, men’s and women’s lacrosse, women’s rowing, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s outdoor track and field, women’s softball, men’s volleyball and women’s water polo.

The final standings will be available June 29.

In previous years in which the Directors’ Cup competition has been held, Notre Dame has finished 11th in 1993-94, 30th in 1994-95, 11th in 1995-96, 14th in 1996-97, tied for 31st in 1997-98, 25th in 1998-99, 21st in 1999-2000, 11th in 2000-01, 13th in 2001-02, tied for 13th in 2002-03, 19th in 2003-04 and 16th in 2004-05.

Here are the current standings:

1.Stanford 1133.375
2.UCLA 1046.375
3.Texas 941
4.Florida 913
5.Notre Dame 880.5
6.California 865.5
7.North Carolina 862.75
8.Duke 851.25
9.USC 840
10.Arizona 831.625