Nittany Lions earn 19th Top 15 finish in Learfield Directors’ Cup
UNIVERSITY PARK – For the 19th time in the past 25 years, Penn State has earned a Top 15 finish in the Learfield Directors’ Cup standings.
The Nittany Lions placed No. 12 in the final 2017-18 Directors’ Cup rankings, finishing in the Top 15 for the eighth time in the past nine years. Penn State remains one of only nine programs nationwide to have finished in the Top 25 in all 25 Learfield Directors’ Cup final standings.
Twenty of Penn State’s 31 teams participated in their respective NCAA Championships in 2017-18 and the Nittany Lion football team won the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl to bring the total to 21 squads in NCAA competition.
“We’ve realized significant team and individual achievements and championships this year and we’re pleased to earn another Top 15 finish in the Learfield Directors’ Cup,” said Sandy Barbour, Director of Athletics. “This recognition is further evidence of the comprehensive excellence our entire ICA team strives for in their daily interactions. It’s a tribute to the students, coaches and support staff who are dedicated to creating conditions for their success. With continued hard work and investment in student and program success, our daily drive is to compete for the top spot.”
Stanford won the 2017-18 Directors’ Cup with 1,442 points and was followed by: UCLA (1,326), Florida (1,216), USC (1,147), Texas (1,143.25), Michigan (1,131), Ohio State (1,118), Georgia (1,046.35), Florida State (1,038.75), Texas A&M (1005.5), Duke (1,004.25) and Penn State (978.25).
The Nittany Lions earned one NCAA Championship, the men’s NIT title and three Big Ten Conference crowns in 2017-18. The wrestling squad captured its third consecutive and seventh national championship in the past eight years, crowning four individual national champions. The women’s volleyball team advanced to the NCAA semifinals.
The Nittany Lions won Big Ten titles in women’s soccer, women’s volleyball and wrestling (regular season) and the men’s basketball team earned its second National Invitation Tournament championship.
Ten Penn State programs finished No. 10 nationally or higher in the rankings or their respective NCAA Championship/Football post-season in 2017-18: wrestling (NCAA Champions), women’s volleyball (NCAA semifinals), men’s and women’s fencing (4th), women’s soccer (5), field hockey (6), men’s gymnastics (6th), football (8) and women’s cross country (10), men’s indoor track and field (T 10th).
Seven Nittany Lions were crowned NCAA individual champions in wrestling, men’s track and field and men’s gymnastics in 2017-18, giving Penn State a combined 13 individual national champions the past two years. A total of 11 Nittany Lions won Big Ten individual titles this past year.
Institutions in Final Learfield Directors’ Cup Top 25 Every Year (1994-2018):
Penn State, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio State, Southern California, Stanford, Texas and UCLA.
Led by Barbour, Penn State offers one of the nation’s most broad-based and successful athletic programs, embodying comprehensive excellence with 800 student-athletes across 31 varsity programs (16 men’s, 15 women’s). Penn State student-athletes have an NCAA Graduation Success Rate (GSR) of 90 percent, which ties the Nittany Lions’ all-time high. Nine teams earned a 100 percent GSR in the NCAA’s November 2017 report.
A school record 520 Nittany Lion student-athletes earned at least a 3.0 grade-point average during the 2017 fall semester. Penn State ranks No. 4 among all Division I schools with 201 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans all-time, including Emily Ogle (women’s soccer), Haleigh Washington (women’s volleyball) and Noah Roberson (men’s gymnastics/At-Large) in 2017-18.
Penn State’s 50 NCAA Championships all-time (78 national championships overall) rank No. 5 among all NCAA Division I programs and are the highest total of any college or university east of the Mississippi River. Penn State’s 31 NCAA titles since 1992-93, including a third consecutive NCAA Wrestling Championship, lead all Big Ten Conference institutions. The Nittany Lions have won 107 Big Ten championships or tournament titles since capturing their first crown in 1992-93.