Virginia Athletics Secured Back-To-Back Top 5 Directors’ Cup Finishes

The 30th Directors’ Cup competition ended with the University of Virginia recording another successful campaign by placing 5th while scoring 1,066.25 points. After finishing 4th last season, this gave UVA its first back-to-back top 5 showings in these rankings.

Adding a National Championship trophy in women’s swimming and diving in the winter provided a big boost, but the spring sports teams really carried the top 5 finish. A final four appearance for men’s lacrosse, a 5th place (tie) for men’s golf, baseball going to the College World Series again, softball advancing to a Regional final, women’s and men’s tennis both reaching the Elite Eight, and an 8th place finish for men’s outdoor track and field highlight several of the major accomplishments in the spring.

When fans look back at the 2023-2024 sports year, it’s easy to see that numerous men’s and women’s teams made important contributions to the overall performance of the UVA athletic program. The following table provides a breakdown of each sport and the final placement or standing with the associated Cup points:

SportPLACEDC Points CountedDC Season Points CountedDC Points Not CountedTotal All Points
WXC 15th Place60.00-
MXC 22nd Place52.00-
FH 3rd Place Tie83.00-
WSOC DNQ for NCAA Tournament0.00-
MSOC 9th Place Tie64.00-
VB (*) DNQ for NCAA Tournament0.00-
FB DNQ for Bowl Game0.00-
Fall Total259.00259.00
WBSK (*) DNQ for NCAA Tournament0.00-
MBSK (*) 65th Place Tie5.00-
MS&D 17th Place57.00-
WIT&F 38th Place (Not Counted)-34.00
MIT&F 36th Place (Not Counted)-37.50
WR 42nd Place (Not Counted)-31.50
Winter Total162.00265.00
WGOLF 28th Place46.00-
MGOLF 5th Place Tie72.75-
WLAX 9th Place Tie53.00-
MLAX 3rd Place Tie83.00-
ROW 13th Place51.00-
WTEN 5th Place Tie73.00-
MTEN 5th Place Tie73.00-
SB 9th Place Tie50.00-
WOT&F 40th Place Tie (Not Counted)-33.00
MOT&F 8th Place70.50-
BSB (*) 7th Place Tie73.00-
Spring Total645.25678.25
(*) Designates the mandatory sports required to be included in the 19 sport total.

For comparison, the columns in the table represent both the counted and uncounted points scored during the DC (Directors’ Cup) season. The “Counted DC Points” column represents the final score without including the overage points. The “Season Total” illustrates the counted score accumulated during that season. The “Points Not Counted” column represents those sports that exceeded the maximum permissible non-mandatory limit of 15 sports. And lastly, the “All Points Total” column is provided to describe the performance if all sports had been counted in the final score.

Before we get started with the assessment of this year’s performance it might be interesting to look at some trivia from past competitions. A few challenge questions follow and the answers will be provided at the end of this article:

  1. How many top 5 finishes has the ACC generated during the 30 years of Cup competition?
  2. What is the largest point total scored by a school in a single year of the Cup?
  3. During the 2009-10 season UVA scored a school record 1,253.25 points and finished third. What schools finished ahead of UVA that season?
  4. What current ACC schools have had top 10 DC performances?

Total point contributions from the men’s and women’s sports programs were somewhat evenly distributed during this year’s competition. The men contributed 550.25 points (51.6% of the point total) and the women contributed 516.0 (48.4%) points toward the 1,066.25-point total. Ten of the women’s sports counted toward the point total including the two mandatory sports of volleyball and basketball (neither volleyball nor women’s basketball scored points during this competition, but they still must be included in the total). Nine of the men’s sports counted toward the point total including the two scoring mandatory sports (basketball and baseball).

Also, there were four scoring sports that did not count toward the point total because of the 19-sport limitation. These were wrestling (31.25 points), men’s indoor track and field (37.5), women’s indoor track and field (34.0), and women’s outdoor track and field (33.0). UVA struggled with the mandatory sports requirement logging a pedestrian 78.0 points (5.0 from men’s basketball and 73.0 points from baseball) out of a possible 400.0 points. For UVA to remain near the top of the Cup scoreboard in most years, the mandatory sports will need to contribute to a much greater extent than seen this past season.

You may be interested to see how these results might have compared to the earlier DC scoring system of a maximum of 10 men and 10 women sports counting toward the point total with no mandatory sports requirement. The difference is not entirely inconsequential since 20 sports would have counted toward the scoring total for UVA with both the men’s and the women’s sports reaching the maximum permissible threshold. The point total would have been approximately 1,197.25 points and that would have been the second highest point total for UVA while keeping them in the running for 4th place overall.

Not surprisingly the contributions from several of the upward trending sports had a major influence on the overall performance during this competition. The combined cross county scores exceeded the 5-year average by 76.1 points, the combined lacrosse scores exceed the 5-year average by 19.6 points, the combined golf scores exceed the 5-year average by 53.8 points, and the combined outdoor track and field scores exceeded the 5-year average by 22.9 points. The combined indoor track and field scores exceed the 5-year average by 46.90 points as well, but these scores were not counted because of the 15 optional sport limitations. These positive upward trends along with the sustained performances in the other sports bode well for the future.

Virginia Directors’ Cup – Comparing To Historical Results

A complete run-down of UVA’s performance by season for each Directors’ Cup competition is shown in the following table.

The total points scored were above the 5-year average (9.11% above average) and 10-year average (7.38%). What about within seasons? The point total for the Fall season was significantly above the 5-year average (33.03%) and above the 10-year average (9.10%), the point total for the Winter season was significantly below the 5-year average (-36.35%) and 10-year average (-33.72%), and the point total for the Spring season was significantly above the 5-year average (22.22%) and 10-year average (26.24%).

It should be noted that the Winter season point total was significantly affected by the loss of a combined 103.0 points from women’s indoor track and field, men’s indoor track and field, and wrestling since they were part of the sports scores excluded above the 15 optional sports permitted. The Winter season total would have been 265.0 including the omitted points and would have been above the 5-year average (3.96%) and 10-year average (8.42%) for the Winter season sports.

1999 - 2000140.0020233.5024325.00(*)698.5013
5 Year Average194.7029.2254.5030.2527.95(*)977.1511.0
10 Year Average237.4019.6244.4324.5511.15(*)992.9811.2
29 Year Average202.7117.1205.9623.8401.30(*)809.9714.9
(*) Total sport placement reported in lieu of individual spring sport placement.
Note: Averaged results are for the years preceding the 2022-23 competition year (excluding 2019-20).
All tabulated data based on information from the NACDA website.

There are a few other historical items related to the performances during recent Cup competitions worth mentioning too. The Spring sports season is the king when generating points toward the overall totals. On average, the Spring sport season contributes 54.0% of the 5-year average and 51.5% of the 10-year average (excluding those sports not counted toward the final total). Another item worth noting is that Virginia has put up between 830.0 and 1,105.5 points during the 6 years of the new scoring system with an average total of 992.0 points. This lends credence to revising the expected baseline score upward, i.e., when predicting future scores, one could use this average score as a starting point and then plus or minus from that baseline.

More Cup Tidbits

  • UVA has had a top 30 finish in all 30 DC competitions and this year’s 5th place marks the 4th time that UVA has finished in the top 5.
  • This marks the 26th time in 30 Directors’ Cup competitions that UVA has finished in the top 25 and Virginia currently has a 17-year streak of top 25 finishes. The Hoos also have been quite successful as leaders in the ACC placing 1st, 2nd, or 3rd within the conference in 26 of 30 competitions.
  • This year’s 5th place finish for UVA further polishes its reputation when compared to other schools. Based on comparison of average results, Virginia now owns the 11th highest ranked performance, inclusive of the 2023-24 scores, for the 30 Cup competitions, 9th highest ranked performance for the 10-year period, and 9th highest ranked performance for the 5-year period.
  • When comparing Power 5 conferences, the ACC finished 4th behind the SEC, Pac12, and the B1G based on average rank. The SEC finished as the best Power 5 conference with an average rank of 26.71 and an average conference score of 800.46 points followed by the Pac12 (36.92 rank and 696.38 points), the B1G (39.14 rank and 633.57 points), the ACC (39.47 rank and 657.51 points), and the Big12 (62.86 rank and 542.41 points). Since the Pac12 conference currently has 12 member schools it might be reasonable to use that number of schools to generate a fair comparison of conference performance. Comparing the top 12 schools from the Power 5 conferences results in the SEC generating an average finish of 21.42 at 866.22 points and then the ACC (30.83 rank and 742.43 points), the B1G (34.75 rank and 676.04 points), the Pac12 (36.92 rank and 696.38 points), and the Big12 (43.75 rank and 568.67 points).
  • The ACC schools appearing in the top 20 were Virginia (5th) followed by North Carolina (7th), Notre Dame (11th), Florida State (12th), and Duke (17th, with NC State just outside of the top 20 (21st).
  • Stanford and Florida have kept a level of consistency over the history of the competition that no other school can match. Stanford’s lowest finish is 2nd and UF’s lowest finish is 7th. For comparison, all other schools with at least one top 20 finish have had at least one season of finishing 16th or worse.
  • UVA has scored a total of 24,014.25 points (excluding the 541.0 points disallowed by overage sports) in the 30 Cup competitions with 13 women’s sports contributing and 12 men’s sports contributing to the point totals. The women’s program has scored 11,999.0 points (49.97% of the total points) and the men’s program has scored 12,015.25 points (50.03%) over that period. On a yearly basis, the 13 women’s sports contribute an average of 399.97 points and the 12 men’s sports contribute an average of 400.51 points. On a per sport basis the women contribute, on average, 30.77 points per sport and the men contribute, on average, 33.38 points per sport.
  • The Virginia women’s sports contributing the most total points in the 30 Cups are rowing (1,854.5 points), swimming and diving (1,762.5 points), and soccer (1,689.5 points). The rowing contributions are even more impressive when you consider that the sport didn’t begin varsity competition until the 1995-96 season thus their baseline is 28 years.
  • The Virginia men’s sports with the highest point total contributions are tennis (1,737.5 points), lacrosse (1,664.0 points), and soccer (1,629.0 points). The sports contributing the most total points when combining the women’s and men’s teams are soccer (3,318.5 points), swimming and diving (3,294.0 points), and lacrosse (3,157.0 points).

Answers to the challenge questions

  1. The ACC has achieved 19 top 5 finishes. UNC has 12 (one 1st, three 2nd, two 3rd, three 4th, and three 5th place), Virginia has four (one 3rd, two 4th, and one 5th), Duke has two (two 5th), and ND has one (one 3rd).
  2. The 2016-17 Cup, the last season before the new scoring structure was introduced, saw Stanford score 1,563.0. For a frame of reference that would translate into an average of 78.2 points with 20 sports counting. When comparing to the 64-team, non-bracket scoring structure, that is roughly equivalent to averaging a 4th place finish in each sport.
  3. Stanford finished 1st with 1,508.5 points and Florida finished 2nd with 1,310.25 points (UCLA finished 4th with 1,124.0 points).
  4. Four current ACC schools have top 10 Directors’ Cup performances. UNC has had 24 followed by Virginia with 10, Duke with 6, and ND with 4. Only twice has the ACC placed four teams in the top 10 in the same season. In 2009-10 UVA finished 3rd, FSU 5th, UNC 7th, and Duke 10th and in 2018-19 FSU finished 7th, UVA 8th, Duke 9th, and UNC 10th.

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