The Florida Gators once again ended the athletic school year on a high note.
With an SEC-best three team national championships to its name and a slew of national top-10 finishes, the Florida athletics program finished third nationally and first among SEC teams in the 2016-17 Learfield Directors’ Cup standings. It is the Gators’ ninth-straight top-5 finish in the national standing and 34th straight year in the top 10.
As first-year AD Scott Stricklin would ask: Is that good?
The short answer, simply, is yes.
- Softball (No. 2)
- Men’s indoor track and field (No. 2)
- Women’s gymnastics (No. 3)
- Men’s swimming and diving (No. 3)
- Women’s outdoor track and field (No. 5)
- Women’s golf (tied-No. 5)
- Men’s basketball (tied-No. 5)
- Women’s soccer (tied-No. 9)
- Men’s tennis (tied-No. 9)
- Women’s lacrosse (tied-No. 9)
“Our department was able to celebrate throughout this entire year because of the effort and competitiveness exhibited by Gator student-athletes and coaches,” Stricklin said. “Having the opportunity to achieve at the highest level, against the very best competition, at one of the nation’s top public universities, is why people come to the University of Florida.”
Florida was also the only school this season to play in a bowl game in football, reach the Elite Eight in men’s basketball, and reach both the College World Series in baseball and the Women’s College World Series in softball.
“The standard of excellence is something we talk about on a consistent basis with our student-athletes and with prospective student-athletes,” Florida men’s basketball coach Mike White said on a teleconference Monday. “Knowing that all these other sports are going to be really, really successful, it’s an exciting thing. It’s a thing we embrace and take pride in.”
The Learfield Directors’ Cup standings are determined by where teams place in each of the NCAA championship events the program participated in. The national champion earns 100 points for its athletic program.
For football, teams earned points based on their final ranking in the USA Today coaches poll. Teams that didn’t end in the Top 25 earned points if they were either receiving votes in the poll or ended the season in a bowl game.
A team can count up to 20 total scores, with up to 10 coming from men’s sports and up to 10 coming from women’s teams.
With 1,252.5 points, Florida finished behind first-place Stanford and second-place Ohio State in the standings. Kentucky was the second-highest finishing SEC team in 10th place.
But while the standings only take team finishes into consideration, Florida also had seven student-athletes earn a combined 13 individual national championships:
- Alex McMurtry (gymnastics) – all-around and uneven bars
- Eric Futch (men’s track and field) – 400-meter hurdles
- KeAndre Bates (men’s track and field) – long jump (indoors and outdoors) and triple jump (outdoors)
- Grant Holloway (men’s track and field) – 60-meter hurdles (indoor), 110-meter hurdles (outdoor)
- Kyra Jefferson (women’s track and field) – 200-meter dash
- Caeleb Dressel (men’s swimming and diving) – 50-yard freestyle, 100-yard freestyle, 100-yard butterfly
- Mark Szaranek (men’s swimming and diving) – 200-yard individual medley
Bates, Dressel, McMurtry, women’s tennis’ Belinda Woolcock and softball’s Kelly Barnhill were also named the national player of the year in their respective sport.