A&M hopes a strong Spring Sports finish is a sign of things to come | Soccer

An unlikely run by the Texas A&M baseball team was a positive end to an Aggie sports year that left much to be desired.

A strong showing in spring sports capped by the baseball team’s run to the College World Series saw the Aggies finish 25th in the Learfield Directors’ Cup standings. It was the school’s 16th straight Top 25, which sounds better than it was.

The Aggies were flirting with their worst all-around season in two decades until they secured a quintet of top 10s in spring sports that included both the women’s golf and baseball teams tied for third place. . Had those programs failed to qualify for the NCAA Tournament, as they did last year, the Aggies would have finished no higher than 37th in the Directors’ Cup, which is a competition aimed at to determine the nation’s most successful collegiate athletic programs in all NAIA and NCAA sanctioned sports by making available the same number of points in each sport.

One mistake with the Directors Cup is that all sports are equal. The reality is that football is the most watched topic in men’s basketball, with all other sports lagging behind. Alabama fans were upset that Georgia beat them to the National Football Championship, but probably weren’t worried that Georgia finished three spots ahead of the Crimson Tide in the Directors’ Cup. In fact, most Alabama fans probably still don’t know that Georgia finished ahead of them in the Directors’ Cup.

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Then there’s Texas, which won a second straight Directors’ Cup. The Longhorns won four national championships this year, but their football team was 5-7 and the baseball team lost twice to the Aggies – at home in the regular season, then suffered outrage at having the end of the season at the hands of their rival. The Directors Cup was more of a tin cup for the Longhorns rather than something to display on the mantle or brag about in chat rooms. But let’s face it, every sport matters. We are reminded of this every time a school abandons a sport for lack of funding. And just a few weeks ago, the sports world proudly celebrated the 50th anniversary of Title IX and how far women’s sport has come. Sport therefore counts more than ever, which gives more credit to the Directors’ Cup.

A&M finishing 37th would have been totally unacceptable, given its facilities, resources and support. Finishing 25th deserves no pat on the back. A&M should be in the top 10 every year or at least knocking on the door. A&M has a strong record in the Directors Cup, finishing 11 out of 12 top 15 times from 2009 to 2019 with six top 10 efforts. A&M fell to 19th place last year after the 2019-20 season was shortened by COVID-19. He slipped six more places this year. A&M ranked ninth in the rugged and competitive Southeast Conference, finishing ahead of only Auburn, South Carolina, Missouri, Vanderbilt and Mississippi State. It was A&M’s lowest finish in the league since joining the SEC. It’s only cause for concern if it continues and it shouldn’t.

A&M had just two Top 25 finishes in the competition’s first decade, which was the Sears Cup when it was created for the 1993-94 season. It was sponsored by the United States Sports Academy from the 2003-04 season until Learfield took over in the 2007-08 season. Things hit rock bottom for A&M in 1997-98 and 1998-99 when the Aggies tied for 38th and 39th, respectively.

A&M’s scores improved significantly under former athletic director Bill Byrne (2003-12) because he made good hires and A&M improved its facilities. Aggies hopes the same formula will lead to even greater success under current DA Ross Bjork. He recruited baseball coach Jim Schlossnagle and women’s golf coach Gerrod Chadwell, both doing wonders in their first seasons. Similar results are expected from Georgia women’s basketball coach Joni Taylor, who replaced legendary Gary Blair. He put the program on the map, but Blair failed to make the NCAA Tournament in his final season. Taylor immediately showed his worth by landing former Georgia signees Janiah Barker, Sydney Bowles and Tineya Hilton. They were ranked the seventh best recruiters in the country in November.

A&M can’t wait until November as chances are the women’s basketball program is gearing up for the NCAA Tournament and the football program is expected to be back after pausing its streak of 26 consecutive NCAA tournaments. The A&M men’s basketball team, which also didn’t make the NCAA Tournament, is also poised for a strong season on the heels of its run to the NIT Championship Game.

You can almost count on A&M to make a significant jump in next year’s Directors Cup, but it will be somewhat hollow if the football team doesn’t have a good season. That could change after four consecutive top-10 recruiting classes by football coach Jimbo Fisher. If the Aggies find a way to win double-digit games, it could be the start of a special sports schedule. Again, this might just be a continuation of what happened in the spring.