April 21, 2011
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The University of Illinois moved up 19 spots to 21st overall in the 2010-11 Learfield Sports Directors' Cup standings following the completion of all winter sports schedules. Illinois received 324.50 points as a result of overall success in winter sports competition to improve its yearly total to 458.50. The Illini entered the winter session in 40th place nationally after earning 134.00 points from fall sport success.
The Orange and Blue men's gymnastics team gave the Illini their biggest boost, courtesy of its third place finish at the NCAA Championships - contributing 85 points to the overall Illini score. Illinois also received considerable production from the women's gymnastics team, totaling 66 points with its 11th place mark among all women's gymnastics programs. Wrestling earned the third-most points among Illinois winter sports teams, tallying 52, while men's track and field added 50.5 and men's basketball brought in 50. Women's track and field rounded out the contributing winter sports programs with 21 points.
Among all Big Ten schools, Illinois stands in seventh place. Ohio State ranks first among all Big Ten programs while Penn State and Michigan round out the top three conference teams. Wisconsin and Minnesota earned fourth and fifth in the Big Ten, respectively, while Indiana placed sixth with 471.25 points over the fall and winter seasons, only 12.75 more than the Orange and Blue.
Across the nation, Stanford (1048.50) holds a 162.20 point lead over second place Ohio State (886.30), while Penn State (864.05) only falls 21.80 points shy of claiming the Big Ten lead from the Buckeyes. The Learfield Sports Directors' Cup will issue three standings reports during spring competition, with the last spring tally serving as the final rankings release nationally and within each conference individually.
The Learfield Sports Directors' Cup honors institutions that maintain a broad-based athletics program, achieving success across men's and women's sports programs. Each institution is awarded points based on the national finish of each program, while the school with the highest annual points total earns a crystal trophy in recognition of its success.