It’s been mentioned in passing a few times before, but Kentucky’s standings in the Capital One Cup — an award given annually to each of the best men’s and women’s athletic programs — is something to behold. Currently the Cats are in second place for the best men’s athletic program in the nation, just behind North Carolina. Take a second to think about that: The best athletic program in the nation…
Winning the basketball title helps a lot, as scoring for “more important” sports is weighted more heavily. In fact, winning the basketball title netted UK 60 of its current 66 points. But schools earn points in the Cup standings with top-ten finishes in NCAA Championships and final official coaches’ polls. The award for winning is $400,000 in scholarships, another trophy for the Joe Craft Center, and an appearance at the ESPY’s in July.
Kentucky is in second place, thanks in large part to its newest banner hanging in Rupp’s rafters, but with the men’s tennis team and baseball team charging toward the post-season; it seems highly likely the Capital One Cup will come to Lexington.
So is this the best year for Kentucky athletics in ever? Think about the run this Kentucky program has had. The losing streak against Tennessee ended, the Rifle team shot their way to a runner-up finish, the Cross-Country team placed well in their six meets this year, the Golf team has four first-place Invitational finishes, the Swim & Dive team set records all over — finishing fifth in the NCAA’s. And of course, the basketball team won its first title since 1998. As previously mentioned the baseball and tennis teams are making their post-season moves to bring home even more hardware for the Wildcats.
So as this school year and sports season begin to wind down for the summer, be sure to appreciate the year Kentucky athletics has had. It’s been an incredible ride, and what a better way to end this year than to bring home the crown of best athletic program in the nation.
As a side note: In women’s sports Kentucky is tied for 23rd, meaning UK is one of only eight schools to appear in the Top-25 of both the men’s and women’s standings. Go Cats.