Penn State Athletics ranked among top 10 programs in national survey

August 01, 2018

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

The Nittany Lions ranked No. 9 among the nation’s 65 Autonomy Five institutions in the survey, which incorporated the final results of the past five Learfield Directors’ Cup rankings. Penn State has finished in the Directors’ Cup top 10 three times in the past five years, starting with a No. 5 finish in 2013-14, followed by rankings of 8, 20, 8 and 12 in 2017-18.

This past year marked the 19th time in the last 25 years that Penn State has posted a top 15 Directors’ Cup finish. Penn State is one of only nine institutions nationwide to have finished in the top 25 in all 25 Learfield Directors' Cup final standings.

Nittany Lions lead Big Ten with eight NCAA championships in past five years; earn 26 Big Ten titles

Since the 2013-14 academic year, Penn State leads all Big Ten schools with eight NCAA Championships, which is the highest total of any institution 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 2013 fall semester.

Also over the past five years, Penn State has won 26 Big Ten Championships in 14 different sports.

The Nittany Lions earned one NCAA Championship, the men’s NIT title and three Big Ten Conference crowns in 2017-18 under the leadership of Director of Athletics Sandy Barbour. 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 2017 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 it second National Invitation Tournament championship, posting 26 wins, the second-highest total in program history.

Twenty Penn State programs competed in their respective NCAA Championships in 2017-18 and the football team won the Playstation Fiesta Bowl to boost the total to 21 teams.

Ten Penn State programs earn top 10 rankings or NCAA finishes in 2017-18

Ten Nittany Lion 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.

Student-athletes’ 3.15 GPA among academic records in 2017-18

Nittany Lion student-athletes again shattered numerous academic records this past year, including delivering a 3.15 grade-point average during the spring semester and tying the highest percentage (66 percent) and number of teams (26) earning a 3.0 grade-point average during the most recent semester.

Starting with the 2014 fall semester, Penn State student-athletes have achieved the eight highest semesters all-time for the number of students earning at least a 3.0 GPA during the past eight semesters.

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.

School record 360 Academic All-Big Ten Honorees in 2017-18

A record 166 Nittany Lion students from the spring/at-large sports boosted Penn State Athletics to a school record 360 Academic All-Big Ten selections in 2017-18 (3.0 GPA or higher).

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.

A total of 138 Nittany Lion students have earned their degrees so far during the 2017-18 academic year, with additional graduates to come this month. 

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’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.

The Yahoo! Sports ranking of the 65 Autonomy Five athletic programs can be found at:

Last Updated August 22, 2018