OU again shows athletics program consistency

NORMAN, Okla. — At OU, no one would argue that it's mostly about football.

The Sooner athletics program largely lives and dies by the sport and team that has provided seven of its 26 national championships and 43 of its 251 total conference titles.

Still, there's more to it, evidenced by OU's third consecutive top 15 finish in the Learfield Directors' Cup Standings, released the other day.

The Sooners placed 14th with a score of 946 points after tallying a program-best 10th place mark last year and ending 12th in 2009-10.

Their 2012 finish put them third amongst Big 12 institutions, behind only No. 6 Texas (1032.5) and No. 9 Texas A&M (990.25).

As part of that, OU showed its consistency across the board with 21 teams advancing to postseason competition during the 2011-12 campaign.

Softball just recently came within one victory of an NCAA National Championship, losing twice to Alabama after securing the first game in a best-of-three series.

Men's gymnastics also narrowly finished second.

Outside of that, three other sports placed in the top 10.

Surprisingly, football wasn't one of those.

Women's golf finished sixth, women's track was seventh and the baseball team, which advanced to the Columbia Super Regional against NCAA runner-up South Carolina, finished ninth.

En route to earning yet another top 15 finish, five different sports won their respective Big 12 Conference competitions.

Three of those are the same ones listed above: softball, men's gymnastics and women's golf.

Men's tennis and women's gymnastics, despite finishing outside the top 10 overall, also won their leagues.

So, it's certainly reciprocal success across the board.

Including all sports dating back to OU's first football conference championship in the Southwest Conference in 1915, 16 different teams fielded by OU have won the combined 251 conference titles.

Football (43), men's tennis (32), baseball (25), wrestling (23), men's basketball (20), men's gymnastics (19), men's golf (16), men's swimming (15), men's track and field (14), women's basketball (11), women's gymnastics (10), softball (nine), women's golf (five), men's cross country (four), women's tennis (four) and volleyball (one) are among those.

OU's success in recent years in a lot of these sports has contributed to why it has finished in the top 15 in the Learfield Directors' Cup, a pattern athletic director Joe Castiglione would almost definitely like to see continue.

With respect to the Directors' Cup, it is presented annually by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), Learfield Sports and USA Today to the best overall collegiate athletics program in the country, which happened to be Stanford (1448.25) in 2011-12.

Florida and UCLA rounded out the top three with scores of 1314.00 and 1142.75, respectively.

The Sooners will continue their chase towards athletic greatness again in the upcoming season.

But they've definitely got a solid footing already, establishing consistency over the years and especially in recent days.

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