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Missouri finished 33rd in the Learfield Cup standings, its highest finish ever

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Here are today’s Mizzou Links.

The final Learfield Cup standings (which measure the success of athletic programs by looking at where they finished in every single sport) are out, and Mizzou has recorded its highest finish ever.

Fueled by Top 16 NCAA Championship finishes in wrestling (5th), women's indoor track & field (8th), men's swimming & diving (9th), women's swimming & diving (13th), women's cross country (16th) and volleyball (Sweet 16) teams, Mizzou Athletics ranked a program-best 33rd in the final 2016-17 Learfield Directors' Cup standings released today by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA). [...]

Of Mizzou's school-record 662.75 points, 147.50 points were scored in the fall, with 385.25 points coming in the winter and 130.0 points tallied from the spring sports season. All-told, a school-record tying 13 Mizzou teams registered Directors' Cup points to help it finish among the nation's top 55 programs for the 18th-consecutive year. The Tigers, who now have four Top 40 Directors' Cup finishes in the award's 24-year history, had not finished better than 36th prior to 2016-17.

The spring wasn’t particularly kind to Mizzou, which got reeled in by the rest of the SEC. Still, a No. 10 finish within the conference is respectable, especially considering the lack of major success in any of the three primary male sports (football, basketball, baseball).

It's staggering to look back to the beginning of the Mike Alden era in the late-1990s and see how far Mizzou has come as an overall athletic program. As Dave Matter noted on Twitter, Mizzou was 133rd in the standings in 1995-96. Improving 100 spots in 21 years is the definition of slow, steady growth.


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