The NACDA Director's Cup is an interesting way to measure a university's success in sports as a whole. Football and basketball get all of the attention, but focusing solely on them ignores numerous other champion-granting sports that the school also participates in.
So how do you recognize a school's broad success in all sports? I guess one way is to make a specific list of sports you want to recognize, devise a points system and then periodically calculate those points and convince athletic directors around the country that this matters. NACDA, congratulations, you have done that.
So it's no surprise that when Syracuse Athletics tells you all about it's 96 student athletes that have graduated this spring, they fill it all up with mentions of the Director's Cup, including how this set of students led Syracuse to a number 16 ranking last fall - the university's highest showing since the award was started in 1993.
This really is fantastic. As Sean noted in December, Syracuse got its groove back. We have fun teasing Dr. Gross but he really is working hard to make signature sports like basketball and football successful, but he's (mostly) not forgetting the smaller sports either. I guess that's why something like the Director's Cup is so important to him and Syracuse Athletics.
But what I think is also important is that these 96 athletes - competing in football and basketball but also running, rowing, swimming, lacrosse, soccer, field and ice hockey, tennis and volleyball - have not only largely been successful, but they've done it while getting a friggin' college degree! Graduating is a feat on its own, but to do it while splitting your time with a Division I sport and all of it's practices and travel and mental focus, is absolutely amazing.
For all the Jews in the house, it's sort of like the Passover song, Dayenu. I'm not a religious man (I call myself a "Jew for the jokes"), but when you grow up going to Pasover seders every year a few things stick in your head. The word "dayenu" essentially means, "It would have been enough" and the Passover holiday remembers the Jews escape from Egypt and Pharaoh and how God was there for them. So the song is saying, "If He had only done this one thing it would have been enough. If He had only done this one other thing it would have been enough."
So what I'm trying to say, in a round about way is, if these 96 kids did nothing but get a college degree, dayenu. If they had done it while being a Division I student athlete, dayenu. But they got their degrees while being a Division I athlete all while being good enough to compete in championships and be some of the best athletes in all of college. "Dayenu" doesn't even really do the accomplishment justice.
Instead, I say Mazel tov! You make us proud.