Sears Cup Scoring Needs To Be Examined

Everyone has heard the old saying, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." The point of the saying is well taken but if it holds wise counsel. then one which says "If it's broke, fix it." makes just as much sense.

This may be a strange way of leading into something that has bothered me for some time. Stanford University's dominance of the Sear's Cup ( National Association of Directors of Athletics ) for the past 9 years needs to be examined because something is wrong when any team dominates as completely as Stanford has done over this period. Looking back on it, I don't understand how UNC ever managed to win the first one in 1993. Since then, Stanford has won 9 consecutive championships and the margins over the runnerups isn't even close. UNC won the first one by 22 points and Stanford's margin of victory for the past several yeas has been over 200 points and, on at least one occasion, over 300 points.

I tried to find out the details of how the scoring is done but I was never satisfied that I completely understood the procedure. I believe 10 sports are used for scoring, one of which is a wild card which allows a school to insert any sport they want to. That may be the problem. Stanford may have teams in areas where they are ranked high nationally when, in fact, few teams participate in the sport. Water Polo comes to mind.

UNC has done well over the years in the Sears Cup competition and were 8th in this year's rankings. No other ACC school has ever finished in the top 10 with the exception of Virginia who scored 8th in 1999.

There are 318 schools in Division 1 athletics. It's interesting to note that 246 of these schools scored points but that obviously means that 72 schools failed to score a single point.

The ACC as a conference does very well in Sears Cup competition. This year all schools in the ACC scored below the 54th position. The rankings are:

8. North Carolina

18. Virginia

20. Duke

22. Maryland

31. Wake Forest

37. Florida State

42. N.C.State

48. Clemson

53. Georgia Tech

It's also interesting to note the standings of the schools who were being considered for admission into the ACC. They are

47. Miami

62. Boston College

74. Syracuse

111. Virginia Tech

I would think that the two schools which were finally admitted to the ACC would want to upgrade their Olympic Sports programs lest they find themselves battling to stay out of the cellar as far as Sears Cup competition is concerned.

Other rankings which might be of interest are:

127. UNC-Wilmington

196. East Carolina

I also find it interesting that the top 3 schools in ACC Sears Cup rankings are 3 of the the top ranked schools academically in the ACC according to the U.S. News and World Report. The exception being that I believe Wake Forest was ranked ahead of UNC in the last ranking.

Which brings me to my final point. There was a time when 4 schools in the ACC generally took the same position on matters being considered by the conference if, in any way, the issue being voted on had the potential to damage academics. They were Duke, Virginia, Wake Forest and UNC. On the matter of expansion, this alliance failed to materialize. I have learned that Wake Forest had promised both their football and basketball coaches that they would support expansion when negotiating new contracts in order to retain their services.

Much has been said about the political aspects of the situation at UVA after Virginia Tech's future became involved, but I don't understand why they seemed to be so pro expansion from the outset. I'm not making a judgment here, I'm just saying that UVA's position was different from what would have been expected from old timers like me. Maybe they involved their faculty earlier in the process because I'm convinced UNC's failure to do this was responsible for our ultimate position against expansion. Maybe not completely but to a large extent.

More on expansion later. I'm making progress in adjusting to what has been done but, believe me, it ain't easy.