The University of Kentucky Athletics Department had a stellar year across the board, and today, they were officially recognized for it.
This morning, the final 2018-19 Learfield IMG Directors’ Cup standings were released, with the Kentucky Wildcats coming in at No. 14 overall.
“We have seen outstanding individual and team success this season,” Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said in an official statement. “This success is worth celebrating, but it’s also motivation for us because we know we can achieve so much more. We are already looking forward to the 2019-20 season, when we will continue to pursue our goal of establishing UK among the elite athletics departments in America.”
The Directors’ Cup measures competitive success for all Division-1 schools, with schools being awarded points based on NCAA championship participation. This year, 17 of UK’s 22 teams managed to reach postseason play, with the points for each of those sports going toward the school’s overall tally.
Overall, five UK teams posted top-10 finishes: men’s soccer (fifth), men’s basketball (fifth), rifle (fifth), volleyball (ninth) and softball (ninth). Four sports finished just outside the top 10, with those being football (11th), gymnastics (13th), women’s outdoor track and field (14th), and women’s swimming and diving (15th).
Here is the entire list of overall finishes and total points for each respective team:
- Men’s soccer – Fifth, 73 points
- Men’s basketball – Fifth, 73 points
- Rifle – Fifth, 73 points
- Volleyball – Ninth, 64 points
- Softball – Ninth, 64 points
- Football – 11th, 66 points
- Gymnastics – 13th, 60.75 points
- Women’s outdoor track and field – 14th, 61.5 points
- Women’s swimming and diving – 15th, 60 points
- Women’s basketball – 17th, 50 points
- Women’s tennis – 17th, 50 points
- Men’s tennis – 17th, 50 points
- Women’s indoor track and field – 21st, 50.5 points
- Men’s swimming and diving – 25th, 49 points
- Men’s indoor track and field – 29th, 42.5 points
- Men’s outdoor track and field – 34th, 39.5 points
- Men’s golf – 50th, 21 points
- Department – 14th, 947.75 points
Kentucky’s 14th-place finish is third-highest among SEC schools and the third-best in school history behind finishes of 10th in 2016-17 and 11th in 2014-15. This is also the eighth consecutive year UK Athletics has managed a top-30 finish. Nine of the 11 best finishes in school history have come under Barnhart, including the six best finishes in school history all coming in the last seven years.
Barnhart currently has an Elite 1-3-5 initiative, with the goal being for Kentucky to finish in the top five of Directors’ Cup standings by 2022, along with each UK team winning a conference or national championship and to continue the department’s streak of 14 consecutive semesters with a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or better.