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BYU athletics No. 1 in Directors’ Cup standings after fall season, its highest ranking ever

The BYU athletics program is No. 1 in the Learfield Directors’ Cup Division I standings after the fall sports season.
BYU fans cheer prior to the NCAA national women’s soccer championship at Stevens Stadium at Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, California, on Monday, Dec. 6, 2021. The BYU athletics program is No. 1 in the Learfield Directors’ Cup Division I standings after the fall sports season.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

BYU athletics had a strong fall season, led by its women’s programs, and subsequently currently leads the nation in an important metric.

The Cougars are No. 1 in the Learfield Directors’ Cup Division I standings after the fall sports season for the 2021-22 school year. BYU had 368 points, eight more than second-place Notre Dame (360).

They are followed closely by No. 3 Michigan (354) and No. 4 Wisconsin (339.5), with Penn State (298) giving the Big Ten three teams in the top 5.

The Directors’ Cup standings are designed to measure the top overall athletic programs in the country by awarding points based on their postseason finish.

The fall rankings were released Thursday, with the winter rankings set to publish in April, followed by the final rankings in July after the NCAA’s spring season wraps up the year.

It’s the first time BYU has ever been ranked No. 1 in the Directors’ Cup standings following the fall season, or led the standings at any point during a given academic year.

“It was an incredible fall season at BYU,” BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe said in a statement. “A huge congratulations to our resilient, tough, committed, passionate, fun-loving student-athletes and coaches for all that they were able to accomplish.

“To be No. 1 in the nation in the standings at this point in time, is something for all of Cougar Nation to be proud of.”

The Cougars benefited greatly from two national runner-up finishes, which netted BYU 90 points for each.

BYU’s women’s cross-country followed up winning the national championship last season with a second-place finish this year, while the Cougars’ women’s soccer program advanced to the NCAA national championship game for the first time in school history, losing to Florida State in a penalty kick shootout

The Cougars’ women’s volleyball program was also awarded 64 points for advancing to the Sweet Sixteen.

BYU football earned 52 points after going 10-3 and finishing in the top 25, while the school’s men’s cross-country program earned 72 points for a seventh-place finish at the NCAA championships.

Last year, BYU was No. 2 in the Directors’ Cup standings following the fall season and finished the 2020-21 school year ranked No. 17. That was the school’s best finish since 2000-01, when BYU also finished No. 17.

Utah is No. 34 in the Directors’ Cup standings after the fall season, with 168.5 points. The Utes earned 64.5 points from their top 15 football team, which won the Pac-12 and played in the Rose Bowl to cap a 10-4 season.

Utah also had 54 points in women’s cross-country after a 20th-place finish at nationals, and 50 points from a women’s volleyball team that advanced to the NCAA’s second round.

Utah State is No. 70 after the fall, earning 96 points from a football team (50) that earned its first Mountain West Conference championship during an 11-win season and a women’s cross-country program (46) that finished 28th at nationals.

Southern Utah — 50 points in men’s cross-country — and Utah Valley University — 25 points in men’s soccer — were also included in the Directors’ Cup fall standings.