Aided by a national championship in men's volleyball, BYU's athletic programs finished the 1998-99 season with 420 points and a tie for 12th place in the Sears Directors' Cup standings, the school's highest finish since the cup was first awarded in 1994. BYU's previous high was a 16th-place finish in the 1996-97 season. Stanford won the cup for the fifth time in the six-year history of the award with 970 points.
Points for the Sears Directors' Cup are awarded based on the performance of a university's athletic program in up to 20 sports -- 10 men's and 10 women's -- with a maximum of 100 points going to each sport's national champion.
BYU scored a total of 170 points in the spring season, including 100 points scored by the men's volleyball team for winning the national championship in May. Other spring scoring included 40 points awarded to the men's golf team for its seventh-place finish at the NCAA Championships and 30 points earned by the men's track and field team for taking 12th place at the NCAAs.
In the winter season, the Cougars earned 120 points, anchored by a sixth-place finish by the women's indoor track and field team (40 points). The fifth-place men's gymnastics team (20 points), the No. 26 men's swim team (20 points) and the No. 39 men's wrestling team (10 points) rounded out scoring on the men's side. The 40th-ranked women's swim team picked up an additional 10 points.
BYU scored 150 points in the fall, highlighted by a second-place finish in women's cross country (80 points). The fall scoring was rounded out by a fifth-place finish by the women's volleyball team (40 points) and by the ninth-ranked women's soccer team (30 points).
In all, the men scored 220 points to go along with 200 points scored by the women.
"It's an exciting result for us," said BYU athletic director Val Hale. "This ranking says a great deal about the overall quality of our programs and about the progress that we have made in recent years. We are very close to our goal of finishing consistently in the top ten."
Women's athletic director Elaine Michaelis is also optimistic about the future of BYU sports. "The fact that the men's and women's teams saw such balanced strength throughout the year is significant evidence that we are achieving many of the goals that we have set for the programs. We're pleased that we improved our position this year. We're working hard to see continued progress next year," said Michaelis.
Georgia finished in second place behind Stanford with 720 points, followed by Penn State (600), Florida (580) and UCLA (570). BYU was the only school from the new Mountain West Conference to finish in the top 50. Utah was next in the conference, finishing at No. 56.
The final standings are available online at http://nacda.com/sears/current/div1/final/div1-99final02.html.