CLEVELAND - The University of California San Diego Intercollegiate Athletics Department took up the fourth position when the 2016-17 Learfield Directors' Cup final standings for the NCAA Division II were unveiled on Thursday morning.
It marks a second straight top-five finish for UC San Diego, after placing third in 2015-16. The Tritons were fifth in the previous listing on June 1, and vaulted over Queens (NC) on the strength of the baseball program's 90 points from a national runner-up showing that just concluded last Sunday, June 4.
With the baseball and men's rowing teams wrapping up their seasons that day, another successful athletics year was concluded on the La Jolla campus. On Wednesday, UCSD was announced to have earned its second consecutive California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Robert J. Hiegert Commissioner's Cup, and seventh in all, as the best overall athletics program in the conference.
UC San Diego accumulated 637 points, having totaled 646.5 a year ago. The Tritons were second in the West Region, behind second-place California Baptist (750.25). They were just narrowly behind third-place West Florida (641). UCSD was again tops among CCAA schools, with Chico State closest in ninth (551.5).
This is an eighth top-five finish for the Tritons, with four top-three efforts. UCSD has been left out of the top eight just four times in 17 years at the Division II level. The department was 37th in the Learfield standings in 2014-15, its only finish outside of the top 20, but has surged to back-to-back top-four placements.
The Learfield Directors' Cup was developed as a joint effort between the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and USA Today. Points are awarded based on each institution's finish in up to 14 sports for Division II, seven men's and seven women's.
UC San Diego had 12 teams earning points toward its total, with six women's, five men's, plus the combined fencing squads. After baseball's highest finish of second (90 points), men's soccer was third (83 points), and women's rowing fourth (80). Other top-10 point-scorers were men's basketball (64), women's soccer (64) and women's water polo (25), all in ninth. Remaining women's teams were basketball (33rd, 25), swimming and diving (16th, 58.5) and track and field (60th, 13.5). On the men's side, contributions came from tennis (17th, 50) and swimming and diving (19th, 36). Fencing was 14th for 48 more points.
UCSD's seasonal breakdown came out to 147 points in the fall, 231.5 in the winter and 258.5 in the spring. The Tritons were tied for 26th after the fall period.
Grand Valley State of Michigan won its fourth straight Learfield Directors' Cup and 12th at the Division II level, scoring 1020 points over the maximum 14 sports. The number of schools that achieved points to enter the ranking was 268.
An industry leader for more than four decades, Learfield has a deep presence in the college athletics landscape nationwide. It manages the multimedia and sponsorship rights for more than 120 collegiate institutions, conferences and arenas, and supports athletics departments at all competitive levels as title sponsor of the prestigious Learfield Directors' Cup. Learfield also provides its collegiate partners access to professional concessions and ticket sales; branding, licensing and trademark consulting; digital and social platform expertise; campus-wide business and sponsorship development; and venue and technology systems through its affiliated companies. For more about Learfield's history, businesses and career opportunities, visit www.learfieldsports.com.