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Carolina finished fifth in the 2016-17 Learfield Directors’ Cup standings, the Tar Heels’ 11th top five and 20th top 10 finish in the 24-year history of the award. It marks the 18th time UNC is the highest-ranked Atlantic Coast Conference program in the year-end standings.
The program measures NCAA postseason competitive success and awards points to a maximum of 10 men’s and 10 women’s programs per school.
UNC compiled 1,154 points this year, led by men’s basketball, which earned 100 points as NCAA champion, and field hockey and men’s tennis, which both finished second in the nation and earned 90 points.
Stanford won the cup for the 23rd consecutive year with 1,563 points (UNC, which won in 1993-94, the program’s first year, is the only other school to win the Division I title). Ohio State was second, and Florida and Southern California rounded out the top four. Michigan, Texas, Penn State, Oregon and Kentucky finished six through 10.
It’s UNC’s fourth-highest total (behind 2009, 2007 and 2011) in the current point system, which began 15 years ago.
Four other UNC teams finished in the top five in the NCAA: Men’s and women’s soccer both tied for third, and women’s lacrosse and women’s tennis both tied for fifth place. Women’s golf, men’s lacrosse and volleyball placed ninth to give the Tar Heels 10 teams in the top 10. Four other teams — women’s swimming and diving, baseball, softball and men’s golf — had top-20 performances.
Twenty-five of Carolina’s 28 sports advanced to NCAA championship competition.
The Tar Heels finished first in the ACC for the third consecutive year and the 18th time overall. No other school has led the ACC more than three times.
Florida State was the next-highest ACC finisher in 13th place. Virginia, at 19th, was the only other ACC school to finish in the top 20 this year. N.C. State finished 29th and Duke 32nd.