Big picture not as pretty this year for UGA

How important you think the Learfield Sports Directors Cup really is probably depends on how your school ranks its final standings. 

It doesn’t help the cup’s prestige with the sports audience at large that it’s perennially won by Stanford, not exactly your biggest name in the two high-profile, big-money college sports, football and men’s basketball.

This year Stanford took its 15th consecutive Directors Cup, presented annually by the National Association of Collegiate Athletic Directors of America to the top intercollegiate athletic program in the nation. The Cardinal did it the way it always does — by loading up on championships and nationally ranked finishes in a host of mostly nonrevenue sports such as men’s gymnastics, women’s rowing, women’s volleyball, men’s water polo, men’s cross country, men’s swimming, women’s soccer … you get the idea.

They’re all legitimate sports, and UGA is certainly proud of its fifth straight national championship in women’s gymnastics and high national finishes in women’s swimming and diving, women’s tennis, men’s golf, softball, men’s tennis and so on. It wishes its national title in equestrian counted, but that’s not yet one of the cup sports.

The cup takes a holistic view of college athletics, where men’s water polo and golf are on equal footing with the BCS and March Madness. Philosophically, that’s the way things ought to be. But realistically, such bragging rights don’t mean much with most sports fans.

This is where I’ll no doubt be accused of sour grapes because UGA tumbled in the Directors Cup rankings this year to No. 18, its lowest placing in the cup standings since it was No. 28 in 1997. Since that time, UGA had ranked in the Top 15, finishing in the Top 10 four of the five previous years, including 10th place last year. Georgia placed second in 1999 and third in 2001.

This year’s decline was a result of not winning as many national titles and/or SEC titles in the spring sports as in recent years and, of course, men’s basketball not making the NCAA Tournament.

The cup might not matter to a lot of sports fans, but it matters to UGA athletics director Damon Evans, who told the Athens Banner-Herald he wants the Dogs to be a “mainstay” in the cup standings. “We’ve got to be at a minimum in the Top 10 and we haven’t been. … Then we want to start getting in that Top 5 to where we might be able to make some more noise in that Director’s Cup, because that’s a proud moment.”  

Evans said Georgia has to “get better in certain areas. Men’s basketball has got to get better. Volleyball is improving and we’ve got to do some things there. We’ve gone backwards in some things … where traditionally we were a little better.” 

Evans cited the women’s basketball program, which underperformed this year, barely making the NCAA tourney and losing in the first round after being a Sweet Sixteen fixture in the past. “I’m confident that it will get back to where it should be,” Evans said of women’s basketball, perhaps firing a warning shot across the bow of longtime Lady Dogs coach Andy Landers.

It’s clear Damon Evans wants one day to win that cup. Let’s just hope UGA doesn’t do it the Stanford way.

31 comments Add your comment

DawgEatVol

June 30th, 2009
2:12 pm

zzzzzz…huh? What?

gdawginkalamazoo

June 30th, 2009
2:21 pm

We should recruit better frisbee golfers.

Mobile Dawg

June 30th, 2009
2:26 pm

Learfield Sports Directors Cup? I guess I’m one uneducated hillbilly Dawg seeing I’ve never heard of this “obviously prestigeous” award? Bill, can you put a spell check on the blog, myself and a lot of others could probably use it.

Knowing we fell so far I probably will have to take an ambien tonight….

LifelongDawg

June 30th, 2009
2:38 pm

Frisbee golf sounds just about right for a sport.

blankensphere

June 30th, 2009
2:39 pm

Academic
Athletic Programs
Party School

is there any ranking out there UGA hasn’t been looking up at UF above them for the better part of the last 2 decades?

Oh wait I got it! The fashion rankings, that’s why you guys talk about Jean Shorts so much right…since that’s the only thing you got for ammo…

No wait I got another…Arrest!
Since 2005
UGA-30 arrest
UF-24 arrest

Huh?

June 30th, 2009
2:50 pm

I’ve got one blankensphere: FELONY arrests. Our football players drink alcohol and ride scooters the wrong way down an empty one way street. Your guys fire guns randomly in apartment buildings and use the credit cards of the deceased. I bet the Florida Gators take the taco in felony arrests. No doubt about it. Congrats to the Gators. Does this help?

RAMBLE ON!!!

June 30th, 2009
2:58 pm

blankensphere

June 30th, 2009
3:04 pm

Huh…Michael Lemon begs to differ…

The Voice

June 30th, 2009
3:04 pm

For once agree with Ramble On

Mobile Dawg

June 30th, 2009
3:06 pm

blankensphere, is there a purpose to your pure mean spirited insensitive remark? Don’t you have anything better to do?

bigdawg01

June 30th, 2009
3:07 pm

SoCal Dawg

June 30th, 2009
3:11 pm

If it’s not worth reading it’s not worth posting. Come on King sometimes less is more.

Old Dawg

June 30th, 2009
3:16 pm

Interesting post. It’s really interesting when you consider the academic standing of Stanford compared with the other members of Division I. That being said, UGA has a tradition of doing well in nonrevenue sports so the Dawgs should usually be in contention for the cup.

But like a lot of things in sports, well-performing teams always run in cycles and UGA will be back at the top in the near future.

Fast Eddie

June 30th, 2009
3:18 pm

Damn, Mobile Dawg. You have to be a leftwing loon to talk about “mean spirited” and “insensitive”. Are your feelings hurt?

mobetta

June 30th, 2009
3:20 pm

Dude; I agree, stop posting crap. Put together one really meaningfull story every day, not 4 craps ones just to fill up the blog.

Mobile Dawg

June 30th, 2009
3:23 pm

Nah Fast Eddie, sometimes a little humor from an educated person is necessary to retain your sanity when reading the stupid, ignorant, uneducated comments of some bloggers, just trying to draw a comment or two from dumba$$es. Hint, I’m the educated one….

AC

June 30th, 2009
3:26 pm

How about curling?

snot bubble

June 30th, 2009
3:28 pm

Great article cousin Bill! Keep up the excellent work. Now where’s my dollar? Pass the spit cup.

DAWG4EVR

June 30th, 2009
3:29 pm

creative writing?

TIM TEBLOWS

June 30th, 2009
3:30 pm

How about creative speech writing! (with a little Velveeta)

Cuz

June 30th, 2009
3:58 pm

Is men’s synchronized swimming included. Maybe we could get Dana Carvey out of retirement to teach it.

Damon because you care about this horse fecal matter ranking, your grade just dropped to a D. And I am still ticked about you and Michael Adams selling the handicapped spaces at Sanford to big donors.

Cuz

June 30th, 2009
4:22 pm

The only thing worth commenting on this blog is that Russian bride ad. Think I will hop over to Columbia and grab Mark Sanford and get a flight to Moscow.

tom

June 30th, 2009
4:38 pm

who cares? Let Stanford win the stupid cup. We all know the BCS, Final Four, and CWS are the titles that matter. Maybe Georgia could win one, but oh no we’ll always come up short.

SuperB

June 30th, 2009
5:51 pm

This is a dumb trophy. Stanford sucks in football and basketball. who cares how many Men’s Alpine Water Polo titles a school wins?

They aren’t better, they just play more useless sports.

razerGT

June 30th, 2009
6:10 pm

If Stanford’s won the cup for 15 straight years, I’m just gonna write it off as theirs for perpetuity. At that point it’s probably only something that fans of Stanford (and their rival California) care about.

NCDawg

June 30th, 2009
7:17 pm

The problem I have always had with this is that for some reason UGA refuses to have many varsity sports teams. We are missing a lot of the sports that give points for this award. I have always been amazed how we place so high with such a handicap. Maybe it is title Nine, but maybe Evans should take a little of that surplus each year and sport a few more teams. You can’t tell me that UGA can’t field a men’s soccer team, or a men’s cross country team. Even division II schools can field good teams in those sports. If we are hurting for women’s sports, there are tons of them that we could have a team for. Most of those schools who are always ahead of us, are there because they have more potential points then us.

Sports I don’t understand why we don’t have a team are:

Men’s soccer
Men’s cross country
Any lacrosse team
Women’s field hockey

NCDawg

June 30th, 2009
7:19 pm

Oh yeah, I forgot we do have a men’s cross country.

Saint Simons

June 30th, 2009
8:54 pm

45-42!!!!!!!!!! hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahaha

PHIL

June 30th, 2009
10:41 pm

How did blankbrainesphere get that UF was above ANYONE academically?

Damn Good Dawg

July 1st, 2009
8:26 am

Pssst! Saint Simons…..November 24, 2009. Meanwhile, enjoy yourself, you dilbert!

[...] But as I noted here last year, where UGA finishes in the Director’s Cup standings matters a lot more to Evans than it does to most fans in the Bulldog Nation. After all, the cup routinely is won by Stanford on the basis of its many championships and nationally ranked finishes in nonrevenue sports such as rowing, volleyball, water polo and so on. [...]