Alabama finished 17th in the Learfield Sports Directors Cup, which combines men’s and women’s athletics in its aggregation. The finish is Alabama’s third highest in the rankings and is the highest since the 1994-95 season.
“I am very proud of the competitive success of our athletics teams over the 2013-14 academic year,” Alabama Director of Athletics Bill Battle said in a UA release. “We have had one of our finest years across the spectrum of our sports this year, in addition to enjoying outstanding successes in academics. This year, nine of our teams finished in the national top 20 with seven of those teams placing in the top 10. Fourteen of our teams earned postseason berths. It is very gratifying to see our student-athletes and coaches excelling in all facets – in competition, in the classroom and in the community.”
Many of Alabama’s championship performances came in women’s sports. Maya Jansen and Erin Routliffe won the NCAA Doubles Championship, the first championship for the Alabama women’s tennis team. Kim Jacob, recipient of the Honda Cup for the top female collegiate athlete in the nation, won the all-around individual championship for gymnastics. Remona Burchell won the NCAA Championship in the 200-meter at the NCAA Track and Field Championship.
These championships, along with a runner-up finish from the Alabama softball team, a fourth place finish from the gymnastics team, a sixth place finish in women’s tennis and a ninth place finish in women’s golf, secured Alabama’s third consecutive year in the top 20 of the Capital One Cup, an all-sport ranking separated by men’s and women’s sports. The Crimson Tide tied for 14th in the 2014 rankings.
Jennie Finch, a former Arizona and Team USA Softball player and current member of the Capital One Cup advisory board, said the purpose of the competition was to reward student-athletes at all levels of collegiate athletics, not just those in the major sports.
“Having been a student-athlete, I know what an amazing time it is and how much fun it is to compete,” Finch said. “The Capital One Cup honors these student athletes. They believe in them, and help educate and empower them by donating over $400,000 between both the men’s and women’s programs, and also give them the bragging rights of having won the Capital ?One Cup.”
Finch said one of the key focuses of the Capital One Cup was to emphasize often overlooked women’s sports.
“It helps shine a light on female athletics. It’s cumulative, so it’s not just one sport, so it helps build camaraderie as well,” Finch said. “I know being at Arizona, it was so much fun seeing the success of the other female athletes at your school, so I admire everything the coaches at Alabama have been able to do to set the bar high for excellence. Success is contagious, and confidence is contagious, so they can pull for each other and see what success does and see how it builds these student-athletes, not only on the field, but most importantly off the field as well.”