For the fourth time in five years, Penn State has earned a top-10 finish in the Learfield Director’s Cup, a program essentially designed to honor the country’s top overall athletic programs.
Penn State finished No. 8 nationally Thursday out of 296 Division I programs.
The Learfield Director’s Cup awards points based on the success of each individual sport — then adds them up to determine the top program. The Nittany Lions’ wrestling team, for example, earned 100 Director’s Cup points for winning the national championship. And the Big Ten champion football team earned 72 points.
Stanford placed first overall with 1,563 points followed by runner-up Ohio State (1,343.75).
The Pac 12 and Big Ten led all conferences with three top-10 finishes apiece. Besides the Buckeyes, Michigan finished sixth with 1,133.25 points and No. 8 Penn State had 1,046.75 points.
Only 11 Division I programs finished with more than 1,000 points.
Every Big Ten team finished within the top 55 — with one notable exception. Rutgers (153.50) performed the worst out of any Power Five program by placing No. 116, one spot below Gonzaga (156) of the West Coast Conference and one spot above the America East Conference’s Vermont (150).
This is Penn State’s best finish since 2013-2014, when it placed fifth. Twenty-two of Penn State’s 31 teams competed in the postseason this past school year, and the Nittany Lions remain one of just nine programs to finish within the top 25 every year since the Director’s Cup started in 1993.
How the Big Ten fared
2. Ohio State 1,343.75
6. Michigan 1,133.25
8. Penn State 1,046.75
16. Wisconsin 886
30. Minnesota 708
36. Northwestern 607.50
37. Nebraska 607.25
38. Illinois 597.50
41. Purdue 548.25
47. Indiana 499.50
50. Maryland 487.50
51. Iowa 477
53. Michigan State 460.50
116. Rutgers 153.50