After fielding many competitive teams this year, UNC finished 13th in the 2017-18 Learfield Sports Directors Cup, its 19th consecutive finish in the top-15.
The Directors Cup is designed to measure the overall quality of college athletic programs across the country by awarding points for team performances in postseason play. Schools submit the postseason resumes of up to 19 of its best programs and receive scores so programs can be measured up against one another.
The teams a school submits are mostly up to its own discretion, though everyone is required to include baseball, volleyball and men's and women's basketball for equal representation. Ideally, this system gives everyone a level playing field so that historically good programs in just one sport don't overpower schools with solid teams across the board.
This year, Stanford — the only other school to win the Cup besides North Carolina — won it for the 24th consecutive year with 1,442 points. Its score was more than 100 points in front of the next closest school. The Tar Heels, further down the list, came in a substantial distance away from Penn State in 12th place, but only 4.5 points ahead of Alabama in 14th.
The Tar Heels’ finish was boosted by the strong finishes of men’s soccer, field hockey and women’s lacrosse — all placing third in the country for 83 points a piece. Baseball’s fifth place finish in the College World Series, women’s soccer’s Sweet Sixteen run and the tennis teams' respective ninth place finishes were also strong contributions.