With the end of basketball season, the NCAA winter sports season has basically come to an end. Many of the spring sports seasons are underway, and before you know it, the College World Series will be happening, and we’ll be into the summer months. However, with the conclusion of the winter sports season, we have a new set of Learfield Directors Cup standings.
The Directors Cup is a competition that decides what the best overall athletic department has been across all sports in a given athletic year. Let’s check in on where North Carolina stands now that the winter is in the books.
After the fall sports season, UNC was in great shape in the standings. Thanks to the field hockey national championship and coming devastatingly close to another in women’s soccer, Carolina ended the fall season in first place in Division I. With a potentially big winter season ahead, things looked good, but alas that is not quite what happened.
After a disappointing finish in men’s basketball and falling in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in women’s basketball, UNC fell to fourth overall in the newest set of rankings. That’s not to say that no winter Tar Heel team had a good season. Women’s swimming and men’s wrestling both had top 12 finishes, leading the way among the winter sports. However, Carolina ended up getting surpassed in the standings by Ohio State, Texas, and Stanford.
Of course, things seemed like they were going to be way different. As you may recall (read that extremely sarcastically), UNC went into the men’s basketball as the preseason #1. Had they even played to a Sweet 16 level, then the Tar Heels could have racked up a bunch more points. Women’s basketball ended up behind the eight ball seeding wise thanks to injuries, likely costing them a couple more points in the standings.
That being said, it’s unlikely that even if those things did go in favor that UNC would’ve been able to hold onto the lead. Ohio State took the lead after having six different teams finish in the top 15 of their respective sports.
All of that said, UNC are in striking distance going into the spring sports season. Baseball, men’s golf, men’s and women’s lacrosse, and men’s and women’s tennis are all ranked in the Top 20-25 of their respective sports. Obviously, it’s fairly unreasonable that think that all of those teams would win their national championships, however, one title win plus a couple other good finishes could definitely have the Tar Heels’ athletic department in the mix. Of course, that’s easier said that done. Plus, Ohio State, and especially Stanford and Texas are also good in a number of sports as well, so a win would be difficult. However, UNC remain in position to have a pretty good finish in this year’s standings.
UNC hasn’t won the competition since the first time it was ever held in 1993-94. However, they appear to be in position for a have finish this year.