For the second consecutive year, Stanford finished runner-up to Texas in the Learfield Directors’ Cup. While this year’s Cup season is not technically complete — No. 2 Stanford men’s baseball (47-16, 21-9 Pac-12) and No. 9 Texas (47-20, 14-10 Big 12) will both take the field this week in the College World Series — the National Association of Collegiate Directors of America (NACDA) announced Thursday morning that the competition was effectively over.
The Longhorns, who broke the Cardinal’s legendary 25-year grip on the Cup last year, had an impressive season across a variety of sports on their way to claiming four NCAA titles and their second Directors’ Cup in a row.
The Directors’ Cup is presented to the athletic program with the best results in a given year’s national championship competition. It was first awarded for the 1993-1994 season; Stanford claimed its first Cup the following year and held the cup for the next quarter century until Texas broke the spell last year.
Though Stanford boasts 36 Division I programs — twice the number of the Longhorns — only a maximum of 19 sports may count towards the result. As per the official rules specified in a NACDA press release on Thursday, these teams must include women’s volleyball and basketball, as well as men’s basketball and baseball. This leaves 15 scoring places, which are ultimately filled by the next best-performing teams at each school, discounting gender.
Texas’ strong all-around performance in national competition gave the Longhorns an edge over Stanford in the overall tabulation. The Longhorns’ women’s rowing and tennis teams successfully defended their National Championship titles from 2021, and men’s golf and indoor track and field scored two further championships. Of their 18 Division I athletic programs, a staggering 10 either won or finished runner-up in NCAA Championship competition this season, with Texas earning national runner-up results in softball, women’s indoor track and field, men’s and women’s outdoor track and field and men’s and women’s swimming.
Stanford has won at least one National Championship every year for the past 46 years — a streak that was kept alive during the 2021-22 season with three national crowns for the Cardinal. Stanford’s first win of the season came from a dominant performance by men’s gymnastics, which outpaced the competition to win its third straight title. Next, sixth-year driver Makenzie Fischer led women’s water polo to its eighth NCAA title. And to give the Cardinal their third title of the year, freshman Rose Zhang not only won an individual national title but helped women’s golf on its path to winning the team’s second-ever NCAA championship.
While the Cardinal managed to better their own total from last year, there are no longer enough points left in the competition for them to overtake Texas. As of Thursday, the Longhorns had accumulated 1376.50 points and Stanford sat nearly 100 points back with 1279.25 overall. With back-to-back Directors’ Cup victories, Texas has firmly announced its arrival on the scene and made clear its intentions to stay.