Missouri’s athletic department reached the top 25 of the NCAA Division I Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup standings for the first time.
The Tigers currently rank 25th, a program best since the rankings began in 1993-94, with 408.75 points.
Missouri vaulted to its highest rankings thanks to a strong showing at several winter sports national championships.
The Tigers’ wrestling team led the way with a fourth-place finish at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis last month, while men’s swimming and diving placed 11th, women’s swimming and diving finished 14th and women’s indoor track and field placed 15th.
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Football, which finished the season ranked 11th nationally, and soccer, which finished 17th, also helped boost Missouri to its groundbreaking ranking.
The Tigers’ best finish in the final standings was 36th during the 2008-09 season. MU peaked at 27th in the poll that season, its previous high-water mark.
“We’ve had a goal of being a top-25 comprehensive program for a long time,” said Missouri athletic director Mike Alden, who will resign April 27, when Mack Rhoades will take over. “This certainly doesn’t signal an arrival or a time to let up, but it is very rewarding to see this achievement and reflect on how proud we are of our student-athletes, coaches and staffs for their tireless efforts. We’re confident that there will be even greater accomplishments to come.”
Prior to Alden’s arrival in July 1998, the Tigers’ average finish in the Directors’ Cup standings was 98th.
Missouri has improved to an average finish of 47th during Alden’s 17-year tenure, not including the 2014-15 season.
Stanford currently sits in first place followed by North Carolina, Wisconsin, Penn State and UCLA.
No. 12 Florida is the top-ranked SEC squad, immediately followed by Arkansas and Kentucky, while Texas A&M checks in at No. 20 and Georgia at No. 22.
No. 7 Texas is the top-ranked Big 12 team and only one in the top 25. Kansas State is tied for 89th with Penn, and Kansas is ranked 92nd.
Wichita State is ranked No. 123, and UMKC is ranked No. 197 among 240 qualifying schools.