Penn State earns fourth top-10 finish in five years in Learfield Directors’ Cup

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — For the fourth time in the past five years and 12th time overall, Penn State has earned a top-10 finish in the Learfield Directors’ Cup standings.

The Nittany Lions placed No. 8 in the final 2016-17 Directors’ Cup rankings, remaining one of only nine programs nationwide to have finished in the top 25 in all 24 Learfield Directors' Cup final standings. Penn State’s point total (1,046.75) was its fourth highest in Directors’ Cup history. The Nittany Lions improved 12 spots from their No. 20 finish in 2015-16.

This year marks the 12th time in the past 24 years that Penn State has posted a top-10 Directors’ Cup finish. The only other span when the Nittany Lions had four top-10 placings in five years came from 1998-99 through 2002-03. The Nittany Lions finished No. 7 in the fall 2016 rankings and No. 3 in the final winter Directors’ Cup standings.

“We are thrilled with our achievements and championships this year and another top-10 finish in the Learfield Directors’ Cup,” said Director of Athletics Sandy Barbour. “This recognition is further evidence of the comprehensive excellence ICA’s One Team strives for in their daily interactions. It’s a tribute to the students and to the coaches and support staff who are dedicated to creating conditions for their success. A top-10 finish in the Directors’ Cup is outstanding, and with more hard work and investment in student and program success, our drive is to compete for the top spot.”

Stanford won the 2016-17 Directors’ Cup with 1,517.50 points and was followed by Ohio State (1,343.75 points), Florida (1,252.50), USC (1,251.25), North Carolina (1,154), Michigan (1,133.25), Texas (1,067.75), Penn State (1,046.75), Oregon (1,027) and Kentucky (1,025). Points are awarded based on each institution's finish in up to 20 sports — 10 women's and 10 men's. The Big Ten was tied with the Pac-10 for first among all conferences with three schools in the top 10.

Twenty-one of Penn State’s 31 teams participated in their respective NCAA championships in 2016-17 and the Nittany Lion football team won the Big Ten championship and played in the Rose Bowl to bring the total to 22 squads in postseason competition.

Penn State won the 2017 NCAA Wrestling Championship, its sixth in seven years, and nine conference titles (7 Big Ten, 2 EIVA) in 2016-17. The Nittany Lions captured Big Ten crowns in field hockey, football, men’s hockey, women’s soccer, women’s indoor track and field, men’s outdoor track and field, and wrestling, and the men’s volleyball team won the EIVA regular season championship and tournament.

The Nittany Lions led all Big Ten institutions by winning conference championships in seven different sports this year. Penn State’s seven Big Ten titles rank No. 3 in its 25 years of Big Ten competition.

Institutions in final Learfield Directors’ Cup top 25 every year (1994 to 2017)

  • Penn State
  • Florida
  • Michigan
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio State
  • Southern California
  • Stanford
  • Texas
  • UCLA

Penn State has one of the nation’s most comprehensive and successful athletic programs, featuring 800 student-athletes across 31 varsity programs (16 men’s, 15 women’s). Penn State student-athletes have an NCAA Graduation Success Rate of 89 percent. The Nittany Lions rank No. 4 among all Division I schools with 198 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans all-time, including five this year. A school-record 114 Nittany Lion students graduated in May, bringing the 2016-17 total to 142 graduates, with more scheduled to earn their degrees in August.

The Nittany Lions’ 49 NCAA championships all-time (77 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 30 NCAA titles since 1992-93 leads all Big Ten Conference institutions. The Nittany Lions have won 104 Big Ten championships since capturing their first crown in 1992-93, including seven in 2016-17, to rank No. 3 in Big Ten titles among all conference institutions over the past 25 years.

The Learfield Directors’ Cup was developed as a joint effort between the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and USA Today. Points are awarded based on each institution's finish in NCAA championships.

Last Updated July 10, 2017