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Kentucky ranks 12th in final Directors' Cup standings

The Kentucky volleyball team celebrated its first national championship.
The Kentucky volleyball team celebrated its first national championship. (Steven Branscombe/USA Today Sports)

Fueled by a pair of national championships, Kentucky continued its strong run of finishes in the Directors' Cup standings by finishing 12th for the 2020-21 season.

It marked the fourth straight Top 20 finish for UK Athletics. The 12th-place finish was the third-highest in school history.

“In the most challenging year in our memory, and perhaps the most challenging year in collegiate athletics history, our teams, athletes, coaches and staff persevered with much success,” UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said in a statement released by the school. “We will celebrate this success, and also use it for motivation as we look ahead to the coming year in our pursuit of being among the elite athletics departments in the nation.”

Kentucky has finished in the Top 30 for nine consecutive years. The seven best finishes in school history have come under the leadership of Barnhart.

The Directors’ Cup measures competitive success for more than 350 Division I schools. For each NCAA-sanctioned sport, points are awarded based on NCAA championship participation. This year, 16 of UK’s 22 teams reached postseason play and scored points toward UK’s final Directors’ Cup tally.

Rifle and volleyball led the way with national championships. Three more finished ninth -- gymnastics, men’s soccer, and softball. Also landing in the top 20 were women’s swimming and diving (11th), women’s indoor track and field (13th), men’s indoor track and field (14th), men’s outdoor track and field (15th), women’s basketball (17th), men’s tennis (17th), women’s tennis (17th), and women’s golf (18th).

Kentucky finished 12th despite a subpar showing from its most visible program, men's basketball. John Calipari's Wildcats suffered through one of the worst seasons in school history, posting a 9-16 record.