The Directors' Cup final standings for the fall season were released today. And there are five Big Ten programs in the Top 25, four in the top 11.
The award, sponsored by Learfield Sports and NACDA, is a "program that honors institutions maintaining a broad-based program, achieving success in many sports, both men's and women's." It isn't just football and basketball. It's across the board success.
The first results for the fall were released December 3, and they included cross country and field hockey. Rutgers was not in the scoring at all. The second release included both men's and women's soccer (December 17), and both RU squads added to the total, pushing Rutgers up to No. 25 in the overall standings.
The final results today put Rutgers at No. 44 in the nation and the sixth best results in the Big Ten, trailing Michigan, Penn State, Minnesota, Ohio State, and Michigan State, all Top 25 schools in the standings.
Most of those Big Ten schools would be expected to be among the best overall programs. But if you're wondering how Minnesota got in there, look no further than Cross Country and Volleyball. The Gophers' Men's Cross Country team finished the season ranked 16 and the women's team finished at No. 23 And Volleyball won the conference (30-5, 18-2 B1G) and was ranked No. 4 in the nation.
As for Rutgers' surroundings, it's an interesting group, from powerhouses like Virginia Tech and Oklahoma to mid-majors (some without football) like Creighton.
I know what you're thinking. The table above shows Rutgers at No. 44. But going back to the Big Ten grouping, Rutgers is shown as 33. And the other Big Ten schools have different rankings. The answer: I have no clue. If anyone can figure that out, let us know.
Why The Directors' Cup is important to us
For starters, it gives Rutgers something to shoot for. We have 24 sports, and while some have done pretty well, we have others that have had very bad showings, especially in the Big Ten. We have, in the Directors' Cup, aspirational peers to compare with, and to emulate.
On the Banks tries to cover all of Rutgers sports. We understand that most people are here for football and men's basketball, but all sports are part of the program. And all sports can bring success and prestige to the University.
Take a look at the Top 25 again. There isn't an SEC school listed until Florida at No. 20. The next one is Arkansas at 25. And at this reporting, there are only two other SEC schools ahead of Rutgers, Ole Miss (29) and Auburn (34). Ole Miss got there on the strength of football (duh), women's soccer and men's cross country. Auburn obviously got football points along with both their cross country teams and women's soccer.
What does that mean? For the most part, it means that SEC schools don't sponsor as many sports as other schools, specifically the Big Ten. There was an article recently on SEC Country in which Wisconsin AD Barry Alvarez was asked about the SEC vs. the Big Ten in football. Avarez, as always, was upfront and blunt.
Wisconsin AD Barry Alvarez on SEC athletics: "They can sink more of their money into football" https://t.co/ZGLg7DcVnm— Jason Belzer (@JasonBelzer) January 6, 2016
In the article, Alvarez went into more detail, explaining very clearly why the SEC might be doing better than the B1G in football. Alvarez's key point:
"The reason they can go up higher (in the SEC) is they're not supporting as many sports," Alvarez told UWBadgers.com's Andy Baggot. "It's a difference in philosophy. The Big Ten is known for being more broad-based in its sports offerings. We are committed to supporting a broad-based athletic program. People may dismiss that, but it's a real thing. They can sink more of their money into football."
Let's read that again: The Big Ten is known for being more broad-based in its sports offerings. We are committed to supporting a broad-based athletic program. And if you look at the two conferences, it's pretty clear that Alvarez is onto something. The Big Ten averages 23 teams per school; the SEC averages just 18. The conferences as sports entities are pretty dichotomous, too. The SEC sponsors 20 sports, including Equestrian which is conducted by four schools. The Big Ten conducts 28 sports. A random selection of schools shows this fact as well.
SEC School Sponsored Sports
B1G School Sponsored Sports
Being part of a "well-rounded" and broad based conference makes me feel a lot more comfortable than being a part of a football factory. Okay, we'll never pay a strength coach $600,000 like Alabama, but that's okay in my book.
The first Directors' Cup standings for the winter sports is March 24. At that point, the following sports will score: Skiing, Rifle, Track & Field, Women's Hockey, Wrestling,Women's Swimming.