WKU absent from final Directors’ Cup standings

WKU Athletics Director Todd Stewart stands before the Board of Regents on Jan. 26 in Jody Richards Hall to ask that Rick Stansbury’s annual base salary be raised by $150,000. 

Drake Kizer

WKU finished unranked in the final 2018-19 standings for the Division I Learfield IMG College Directors’ Cup, the organization announced Friday.

The Hilltoppers and Lady Toppers experienced a significant drop from their spot in the final 2017-18 standings released last June, as WKU’s athletic programs nose-dived within only 12 months from a tie for No. 152 to a finish outside the top 295 programs in the nation.

The Directors’ Cup ranks college athletics programs on their performance in 19 sports, based on participation and success in NCAA championship events. 

Four of the sports included in a school’s ranking must be baseball, men’s basketball, women’s Basketball and women’s volleyball, according to the scoring structure posted on National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics website.

WKU earned 100 points in 2017-18, registering 75 for fall sports, 25 for winter sports and zero for spring sports, compared to zero across all three seasons in 2018-19.

The 2017-18 Hilltoppers and Lady Toppers notched 25 points for finishing 51st in football, 50 points for finishing 17th in women’s volleyball and 25 points for finishing 33rd in women’s basketball last cycle.

For comparison, 2018-19 winner Stanford amassed 1,567.75 points by scoring in 18 of 19 possible sports and winning six national championships — four on the women’s side and two men’s crowns.

The programs that earned the Hilltoppers and Lady Toppers their points last season didn’t fare as well this year — the football team finished 3-9, women’s volleyball fell in its opening match of the conference tournament and women’s basketball lost in the semifinals of the conference tournament.

WKU is one of only two Conference USA schools to not make the list, joining Texas-El Paso on the outside looking in. Texas-San Antonio was close to missing out on a top-295 finish, but the Roadrunners earned 19 points for a 53rd place finish in women’s golf this spring.

Morehead State and WKU are the only two Division I programs in Kentucky to not place. Five other schools in the Commonwealth made it onto the list, including No. 14 Kentucky, No. 35 Louisville, No. 100 Murray State, No. 214 Eastern Kentucky and No. 266 Northern Kentucky.

WKU finished No. 155 in 2016-17, No. 134 in 2015-16, No. 102 in 2014-15, No. 123 in 2013-14 and No. 98 in 2012-13. The last time the Hilltoppers and Lady Toppers missed out on the final Director’s Cup standings was 2006-07, but WKU posted a No. 88 finish just two years later in 2008-09.

Sports Editor Drake Kizer can be reached at 270-745-2653 and [email protected]. Follow Drake on Twitter at @drakekizer_.