Shorter ranked No. 5 in latest NACDA Directors' Cup standings
By Matt Green
CLEVELAND -- Shorter University is ranked fifth out of 174 NAIA member institutions in the latest edition of the 2011-12 NAIA Learfield Sports Directors' Cup Standings according to the final winter rankings released by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and USA Today on Thursday.
Shorter, which finished a program-best third place in last year's final Directors' Cup standings, scored the second highest winter point total in the country to move into the top five. The Hawks, on the heels of a second place finish in men's indoor track and field, a third place finish in men's basketball, a fourth place finish in women's indoor track and field, a ninth place finish in women's basketball and a 15th place finish in wrestling, produced 363.50 winter points to bring their 2011-12 total to 451.50.
Azusa Pacific, the defending Directors' Cup champion, maintains a stronghold on first place with 673.00 total points.
Shorter was ranked 34th after the fall season with 88.00 points from its two cross country teams. The Hawks shot up 29 spots in the rankings thanks in large part to record seasons from their two basketball teams and the wrestling squad, and are now the highest ranked program out of the Southern States Athletic Conference -- Lee is the next highest rated SSAC institution at 19th (300.00 points).
Shorter, which is a partial member of the Mid-South Conference, ranks behind only Lindsey Wilson in regards to Mid-South institutions. Lindsey Wilson is fourth with 498.50 points. Oklahoma Baptist (544.00) and Biola (509.00) are second and third, respectively.
The Hawks are in great shape to make a push towards their first first place finish in the final Directors' Cup standings.
Last year, Shorter was ranked 14th heading into the spring with 314.00 points. Shorter scored a spring high 427.00 points to finish with 741.00 total points for the year and place third behind Azusa Pacific (820.75) and Embry-Riddle (752.25). Another spring like Shorter had in 2010-11 and the Hawks could make a serious run at first place when the final standings are released on June 13.
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 12 sports -- six women's and six men's.