LINCOLN — A bonus attached to a top-30 finish in the Learfield IMG College Directors’ Cup will elude Nebraska Athletic Director Bill Moos for a third straight year.
That’s because the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics, which manages the annual competition, decided to cancel it for 2019-20 after measures to slow the spread of coronavirus shut down college athletics for the rest of the season.
“The Learfield IMG College Directors’ Cup program is our premier institutional award, so fairness is essential when evaluating scores,” NACDA CEO Bob Vecchione said in a statement. “With the cancellation of some winter and all spring championships, it did not seem just to award champions for the year based solely off the fall standings. While we are disappointed we will not be able to crown champions across the five divisions this year, we look forward to reinstating the Directors’ Cup program for the next full athletics season.”
After the completion of fall sports, NU was in 96th overall and 12th in the Big Ten. Had NACDA based standings on fall sports alone, the Huskers would have had their worst finish by far.
Nebraska’s strongest group of point-scoring teams in recent years reside in the winter, when wrestling, women’s and men’s gymnastics and indoor women’s and men’s track and field tend to finish well at national meets. The Husker wrestling team appeared on track for a top-three finish at the NCAA championships originally scheduled for last weekend.
The completion of the winter sports calendar likely would have put Nebraska in striking distance of the top 30, pending performances by the spring sports.
Moos’ contract has a bonus attached to Nebraska’s finish in the Directors’ Cup standings. The first bonus band kicks in once NU reaches the top 30. The Huskers last made the top 30 in 2016 (27th), but recorded worst-ever finishes in 2018 (44th) and 2019 (48th).
Nebraska’s athletic department has undergone significant change since Moos’ arrival. He has hired nine head coaches, including the three biggest men’s sports — football, basketball and baseball. Though it’s still early in their tenures, Scott Frost and Fred Hoiberg have yet to post a winning record.
“This is a process,” Moos said in late February. “We’re building a program. We’re rebuilding a football program. Strong, stable, sustainable programs deliver winning teams every year. This is all going to come together.
“I’m just going to be transparent. It might be two years for football and men’s basketball. Just telling it as it is. But hang on, because the wait is going to be worth it.”
Coming out of fall, Creighton was 118th nationally and fifth in the Big East. UNO did not score any points in the fall slate.
In Division II, UNK was 59th in the fall standings. Nebraska Wesleyan did not score in the Division III fall standings, though it would have in the winter. In the NAIA, which posted one subset of winter standings, Concordia was 17th, followed by Midland (27th), Doane (29th), Hastings (33rd), St. Mary (62nd) and York (107th).