Penn State among nation's top 10 athletic programs

August 22, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State’s comprehensive and successful athletic program has been ranked among the nation’s top 10, according to a survey compiled by Yahoo! Sports.

The Nittany Lions ranked No. 8 among the nation’s 65 Autonomy Five institutions, according to Yahoo! Sports. The survey incorporated the final results of the past five Learfield Directors’ Cup rankings. Penn State has finished in the directors’ cup top 10 four times in the past five years, starting with a No. 6 finish in 2012-13, followed by rankings of 5, 8, 20 and 8, in 2016-17.

This past year marked the 12th time in the last 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. Penn State is one of only nine programs nationwide to have finished in the top 25 in all 24 Learfield Directors' Cup final standings.

Penn State was second among Big Ten Conference institutions in the Yahoo! Sports listing, one spot behind Michigan. Ohio State was No. 9, giving the Big Ten three schools in the top 10, tying the Pac-12 for the most schools in the top 10.

Nittany Lions lead Big Ten with eight NCAA championships in past five years

Since the 2012-13 academic year, Penn State leads all Big Ten schools with eight NCAA championships, which ranks No. 6 nationally and is the highest total of any school in the Mid-Atlantic, Northeast or Midwest. The Nittany Lions have won NCAA titles in men’s and women’s fencing, women’s soccer, women’s volleyball and wrestling since the 2012 fall semester.

Also over the past five years, Penn State has won 31 Big Ten championships to rank third in the conference, just edged by Michigan (34) and Ohio State (32).

During 2016-17, The Nittany Lions earned the NCAA championship in wrestling and nine conference titles under the leadership of Director of Athletics Sandy Barbour. Seven of the conference crowns were Big Ten championships, as the Nittany Lions led all conference institutions by winning titles in seven different sports.

Twenty-one Penn State programs competed in their respective NCAA championships and the football team won the Big Ten championship and played in one of the most thrilling Rose Bowls in the game’s illustrious history to boost the total to 22. Twenty-nine Penn State teams overall participated in postseason competition.

Eleven Nittany Lion programs finished No. 10 nationally or higher in their respective NCAA championship/football postseason in 2016-17: wrestling (NCAA Champions), women’s lacrosse (NCAA semifinals), men’s volleyball (T 5th), men’s hockey (NCAA quarterfinals), football (7th), men’s gymnastics (T 7th), men’s and women’s fencing (7th), field hockey (T 9th), men’s lacrosse (T 9th) and women’s indoor track and field (T 10th).

Student-athlete 3.14 GPA among academic records in 2016-17

Nittany Lion student-athletes again shattered numerous academic records this past year, including delivering a 3.14 grade-point average during the spring semester, the highest percentage (66 percent) and number of students earning a 3.0 grade-point average during the spring semester (495), a record-tying 299 Academic All-Big Ten honorees, 97 Big Ten Distinguished Scholars and 114 graduates this past May. A total of 159 Nittany Lion students graduated in 2016-17.

For the fifth consecutive year, Penn State student-athletes broke the school record for the number of students with a 3.0 GPA or higher during the spring semester. Through the efforts of the students and the Morgan Academic Center staff, the number of students earning a 3.0 GPA in the spring semester has risen 9.1 percent the past five years from 450 in 2013 to 495 this past spring.

Five Nittany Lions earned CoSIDA Academic All-America accolades in 2016-17, the school’s highest total since having seven honorees in 2012-13. Penn State's 198 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans all-time rank No. 4 among Division I institutions.

The Nittany Lions also posted more than 6,200 hours of community engagement during the past year.

Last Updated August 23, 2017