Football and basketball are often used as the measuring sticks to determine the success of a college’s sports program, but that’s not how it works at UCLA.
While the Bruins’ football and basketball teams have struggled in recent years, the “other sports” in UCLA’s athletic department have been top-notch.
This is confirmed by the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup standings, which is designed to measure the overall performance of a school’s athletic department. UCLA finished as the third overall college, just behind Stanford and Florida.
The National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics takes into account 20 sports. The Cup, handed out by NACDA, uses the team’s postseason finish and measures them on a 100-point scale, which is added up at the end of the athletic year to create a total score.
This year, UCLA added its nation-leading 108th NCAA Championship, thanks to the women’s volleyball team. Women’s tennis and men’s water polo lost in the NCAA championship match, while men’s soccer, gymnastics, men’s tennis and women’s water polo finished third in the nation.
Baseball and men’s golf both finished fifth in the nation.
“It was just heartbreaking and exciting to see how many teams got so close to a championship match and a championship,” said women’s volleyball coach Michael Sealy.
“It was a very, very successful year for everyone.”
In the 19-year history of the Directors’ Cup, UCLA has finished in the top six of the final standings 17 times. Only one other school, Stanford, has matched this feat.
In a recent blog post, Director of Athletics Dan Guerrero wrote, “All in all, a very good year, but we will not rest on our laurels next year and will continue to push for the top spot in each sport during the 2012-13 school year.”
Women’s tennis had the highest individual Directors’ Cup score of any UCLA sport in the standings. They ended ranked No. 2 in the nation after a loss to Florida in the NCAA championship game.
Coach Stella Sampras Webster was proud of the fact that her team contributed to UCLA’s Directors’ Cup ranking.
“We’re not just a football or a basketball school,” Sampras Webster said.
“We are a school of so many sports that do so well and I think that’s what we’re kind of known for.”
With the football and basketball teams looking to be on the rise in the near future, UCLA’s pool of successful sports looks to grow even larger.
“A person could go nutty just watching all the sports that are doing well,” said men’s tennis coach Billy Martin.