June 27, 2014
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Fueled by six Big Ten Championships (regular season and tournament), which tied the department record, Michigan State placed 29th in the 2013-14 Division I Learfield Sports Directors' Cup standings, which were released Friday. The 29th-place finish ties for the fourth best in department history and also ties for the second-highest showing under seventh-year MSU Athletics Director Mark Hollis (27th in 2008-09).
The Learfield Sports 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 20 sports -- 10 women's and 10 men's.
Led by the Big Ten and Rose Bowl Championship football team, the Spartans closed the fall season at No. 2 in the Directors' Cup. MSU won a school-record 13 games, finished No. 3 in both national polls, defeated No. 5 Stanford in the 100th Rose Bowl Game, and topped No. 2 Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game.
In addition to winning the Big Ten Tournament, field hockey advanced to the Elite Eight, along with men's soccer, and volleyball reached the regional round of the NCAA Tournament for the second year in a row.
MSU maintained its excellence in women's cross country and women's golf, as both programs captured their third Big Ten title in four years. At their respective NCAA Championships, women's cross country placed sixth, while women's golf took 20th.
On the hardwood, men's basketball won its fourth Big Ten Tournament title and reached the Elite Eight for the eighth time in the past 16 years, while the women's team claimed its second Big Ten regular-season championship in four years and received its sixth consecutive NCAA bid.
The women's track and field team placed 22nd at the NCAA Outdoor Championships earlier this month, highlighted by junior Leah O'Connor winning the 3,000-meter steeplechase national title.
Michigan State has posted top-40 finishes in the Learfield Sports Directors' Cup 14 out of the past 16 years, including a program-best 22nd finish in 1999-2000 after winning the men's basketball National Championship. Under the direction of MSU Athletics Director Mark Hollis, the Spartans have finished in the top 40 of the Directors' Cup six times (29th in 2008; 27th in 2009; 39th in 2010; 34th in 2012; 30th in 2013; 29th in 2014). MSU also won six Big Ten Championships in 2004-05 (women's basketball (regular season and tournament), men's soccer (tournament), field hockey, men's golf, and rowing).