Lancers favorable in Learfield Cup rankings

Following a successful fall season for California Baptist University athletics, the Lancers sit at No. 2 in the Learfield Directors’ Cup standings for NCAA Division II.

This is more than just a tip of the cap for a job well-done this fall; this is a chance for CBU to see how it stacks up against other athletic departments.

While this fall was a banner season for the Lancers, they are no strangers to the top of the Directors’ Cup standings. CBU has finished second and fourth, respectively, in the final standings from the last two years.

According to the Directors’ Cup website, the program was created in 1993 and has grown to include standings for all three NCAA divisions, as well as the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. The Cup’s Twitter bio dubs it “the crowning achievement in college athletics.”

The cup was founded by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics and USA Today.

The standings are based on a points system in which institutions can earn points from seven men’s sports and seven women’s sports.

“It’s all based off of NCAA or NAIA championships,” said Julie Work, the assistant executive director at NACDA. “So if an institution advanced, it is awarded points accordingly whether the sport is bracketed or not bracketed.”

Jarrod Olson, head coach of women’s basketball at CBU, weighed in on the importance of the Directors’ Cup.

“We’re certainly aware of (the standings) just from the standpoint that we really want CBU to be seen in the most positive light possible,” Olson said. “We (myself, the coaches and the players) love CBU and want everyone to understand what a great place it is.”

This fall, CBU finished with 299 points and sat a mere 30 points behind first-place Colorado School of Mines.

When the 2017-18 seasons have finished, national recognition is not the only thing awaiting the top institution. There is also a crystal trophy for the institution with the highest number of points.

With the transition to NCAA Division I competition on the horizon at CBU, Work noted how the standings can help a transitioning institution weigh its success against current DI athletic programs.

Work also said the points system is parallel across all NCAA divisions, but added that conference championships often determine who advances to an NCAA championship event and those can be more difficult to come by at a higher level of competition.

This fall, the Lancers racked up their fair share of conference titles at the DII level, claiming PacWest championships in all five fall sports.

“We mostly focus on our part, just trying to make women’s basketball as good as we can be,” Olson said. “As the year is going, Dr. (Micah) Parker will give us updates and it makes you want to do your part and contribute in any way you can to the overall success of CBU. The Learfield points system is a fun way to keep track of that.”

Work added there were aspects of the Director’s Cup that she enjoyed. Because of all the athletic departments involved, there are unique opportunities.

“The Directors’ Cup is special because we look at (the standings) over-arching, so any institution has an opportunity to get points, so that is kind of special,” Work said.

About Cullen Holt

Asst. Sports Editor

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