NCAA Tournament success in men’s soccer and women’s volleyball has elevated UCSB to a No. 49 national finish in this year’s abbreviated Learfield IMG College Director’s Cup race.
The Gauchos ranked No. 1 among Big West Conference members in the Learfield standings. They were also rated tops among non-football schools, beating out many Power 5 conference programs in the process.
UCSB could have finished even higher if the promising seasons of its winter and spring programs hadn’t been cancelled last March by concerns of the COVID-19 pandemic. Three Gaucho teams were ranked nationally at that time: men’s volleyball at No. 3, women’s water polo at No. 8, and baseball at No. 20 in the Ratings Percentage Index.
“We are very proud of what our student-athletes were able to accomplish that past year,” director of athletics John McCutcheon said. “The standings reflect the accomplishments of those teams that were able to complete their seasons of competition but, as we know, many of our winter and spring programs were poised for success, as well.”
Points in the Learfield rankings are awarded when a team advances to the NCAA playoffs. Only fall sports were used in this year’s scoring.
UCSB earned 123 points to finish in a tie for 49th place with South Carolina. A big chunk of that total came from the Gauchos’ run to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Men’s Soccer Tournament. UCSB also got to the second round in women’s volleyball.
The Gauchos were also poised to challenge for NCAA Tournament berths in men’s and women’s basketball. Both UCSB teams had finished in second place in the Big West Conference regular season and were about to open league tournament play when the NCAA pulled the plug on all intercollegiate competition.
UCSB was also a strong contender to earn NCAA berths in men’s and women’s tennis.
Stanford finished as the top team in the DI Learfield standings after winning NCAA championships in women’s soccer, women’s volleyball and men’s water polo.