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What Exactly Does the Directors’ Cup Rankings Mean?

The answer may not surprise you.

John Roethlisberger

As you probably saw on off-season slow-news-day Friday, the final results of the Directors’ Cup were released. Alabama finished in 31st place. Several fans are hemming and hawing about this result. I even saw a few jokers criticizing Greg Byrne (eye-rolling emoticon) on good ol’ Twitterz.

But what does this all mean and what the heck is the Directors’ Cup? I’m glad you asked. The short answer is politically correct bragging rights.

Now here comes the long answer.

The “Directors” in Directors’ Cup are Athletic Directors. The National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) has “a membership of more than 15,700 individuals and more than 1,700 institutions throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. Members include athletics directors, associate and assistant athletics directors, conference commissioners and affiliate individuals or corporations.”

Maybe it’s for fun or maybe it is a way to inspire, but the Directors’ Cup is not a true evaluator of the job an AD has done.


I am going to get crazy here and rank college sports according to importance to the Universities.

  2. Men’s basketball
  3. Every other sport

I’m just joshing here but it’s not far from the truth. Check out the below chart from that ranked the average revenue for the top 14 sports at FBS schools for 2016-2017:

And now this beauty from on black ink/red ink ending June 2016:

While these numbers are a couple of years old, don’t fool yourselves into thinking they have changed that much.


The Directors’ Cup standings gives equal weight to each sport. This is where the politically correct aspect enters in, because for ADs every sport under their watch should be of equal importance. Just like your kids. You love them all equally, right? Johnny is a straight A student and captain of the football team. Joey is failing P.E. and took a swing at the football coach because he took away his dime bag during chemistry class. But at least Joey didn’t skip chemistry class and you love them both the same. In the same way, @Greg Byrne, Chris Del Conte (Texas), Ross Bjork (TAMU), and Gene Smith (Ohio State) LOVE their women’s soccer team with equal ferocity that they do the football team. Of course they do.@

According to the Directors’ Cup, if you win the football championship, you get 100 points. Second place is worth 90 and third place gets you 85. If you win men’s gymnastics as Stanford did, guess what? You get the same 100 points! Oklahoma got 90 for their runner-up status in male tumblers, and Nebraska got 85. Fencing, skiing, water polo and beach volleyball all get equal distribution.


Last September, Bleacher Report offered the College Sports Programs with the Highest Revenues. These rankings are much closer to what you’d expect.

  1. Texas Longhorns
  2. Texas A&M Aggies
  3. Ohio State Buckeyes
  4. Michigan Wolverines
  5. Alabama Crimson Tide
  6. Georgia Bulldogs
  7. Oklahoma Sooners
  8. Florida Gators
  9. LSU Tigers
  10. Auburn Tigers

Now if Stanford and Virginia want to beat their chests over the Directors’ Cup result, then have at it. But clearly revenue is a better determinant of the success of an AD and the school they lead.