AZUSA, Calif. -- Azusa Pacific, the seven-time defending Directors' Cup champion, has surged to the top of the NAIA in the latest standings of the Learfield Sports Directors' Cup, the award program which recognizes the nation's best overall collegiate athletics programs.
Led by 90 points from the Cougars' national runner-up women's cross country performance, Azusa Pacific has 299 points so far this fall and holds a 34-point lead over second-place Cal State San Marcos. All four Cougar teams represented in the current standings finished in the top ten of their respective national championship event. Women's soccer earned 83 points for a third-place finish (semifinals), volleyball tallied 73 points for fifth place (quarterfinals), and men's soccer picked up 53 points for a ninth-place (second round) finish.
The final fall standings, which will be announced next Thursday, will include another boost to Azusa Pacific's total with the inclusion of the Cougars' appearance in the NAIA football quarterfinals. For the past nine years, Azusa Pacific has been ranked either first or second in the final fall Directors' Cup standings, and the Cougars have held the Directors' Cup lead in six of those seasons. The last time Azusa Pacific did not hold the lead at the end of the fall was in 2009-10, when the Cougars ended up winning by the narrowest margin in the award's history.
The Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup was developed as a joint effort between the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and USA Today. Points are awarded based on each institution's finish in up to 12 sports -- six women’s and six men’s.