North Carolina Tar Heels: Chance to Lead Directors Cup with Bowl Win

The North Carolina Tar Heels currently sit in 2nd place in the 2023-24 Director's Cup race with seven out of 37 sports seasons completed.

Bubba Cunningham sees chance for Tar Heels to move to top of the Director's Cup Standings with a Duke's Mayo Bowl win.
Bubba Cunningham sees chance for Tar Heels to move to top of the Director's Cup Standings with a Duke's Mayo Bowl win. / Grant Halverson/GettyImages
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The North Carolina Tar Heels will have a chance on December 27th to move into 1st place in the 2023-24 NACDA Learfield Director's Cup race as the fall sports seasons come to a close.

The Director's Cup is an annual award given to the college or university with the most collegiate athletic success across all sports. The 2nd place Tar Heels currently have 347.5 points and trail only the Stanford Cardinals who have 371 points. The rest of the top five is rounded out by Notre Dame (281.5), BYU (279.6), and Arkansas (272).


As college football bowl season ramps up, the Tar Heels will have a chance to pass Stanford in the standings with a win against the West Virginia Mountaineers in the Duke's Mayo Bowl on December 27th. The Stanford University football team went (3-9) in 2023 and is not bowl-eligible, so their football team will be unable to contribute any more points to the 2023-24 Director's Cup. They will finish the fall season at 371 points.

According to the LEARFIELD Directors' Cup Scoring Structure, a college football bowl game win is worth 45 points, so if the Tar Heels can win against the Mountaineers, they would reach a Division 1-leading 392.5 points. No other team would be able to reach the Tar Heels' point total, and as Mack Brown is anointed with Duke's Mayonnaise, the Tar Heels would sit alone at the top of the standings.

The first Director's Cup award was presented in the 1993-94 academic year and the North Carolina Tar Heels brought home the trophy in its inaugural season. Following the Tar Heels win, the Stanford Cardinals won the award 25 years in a row until the Texas Longhorns finally broke the streak by winning back-to-back awards in 2020-21 and 2021-22. The Stanford Cardinals then won their 26th Director's Cup last year in 2022-23.

Stanford University has never finished outside of the top two, and the University of North Carolina has finished in the top ten in 24 of the 29 years of the award's existence, so it is unsurprising to see these two Director Cup "blue bloods" battling it out at the top of the standings again.

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