Alabama’s athletic department hit a new high-water mark, finishing 14th nationally in the 2017-18 standings for the Learfield Director’s Cup.

The previous best for the program was 15th: UA finished there both in 1993-94 and 1994-95. It was the second straight year Alabama has improved, from 36th overall in 2015-16 to 25th in 2016-17. The Crimson Tide finished fourth among SEC schools.

The Director’s Cup awards points throughout the school year based on athletic programs finish in NCAA championships. It has been awarded annually since 1993-94.

“What an outstanding accomplishment for our athletics department,” UA Director of Athletics Greg Byrne said in a news release. “We are so proud of our student-athletes, coaches and support staff and certainly want to commend them all on a job well done. To lead the nation in Academic All-Americans and now to have our highest finish in the Learfield Directors’ Cup shows the level of commitment, not only from athletics, but also from our University leadership, to succeeding in all areas of the student-athlete experience.”

Byrne receives a $110,000 bonus in addition to his $900,000 salary for 2017-18 thanks to Alabama’s finish. That’s the maximum bonus he can receive for the school’s finish in the Director’s Cup, with any finish in the top 18 kicking in the top tier of bonus level. Byrne can also receive a bonus for meeting goals related to Alabama’s graduation success rate.

Alabama finished the 2017-18 year with 913 total points in the standings. Its national championship in football provided 100 points and national runner-up finishes by men’s and women’s golf each brought in 90 points. Men’s track and field brought in 74.25 points after finishing fifth at the NCAA outdoor championships in addition to 69 points from its finish at NCAA indoor championships.

Stanford won the 2017-18 Director’s Cup with 1,442 total points thanks in part to winning national championships in four sports. It had 12 programs finish ranked in the top 10 of their sports this school year. The Cardinal has won the Director’s Cup for 24 consecutive years after finishing second for the award in its inaugural year in 1993-94.

UCLA finished second overall with 1,326 points, while Florida finished third with 1,216 points to lead all SEC programs. You can view the full standings for the 2017-18 Learfield Director’s Cup here.

Reach Ben Jones at or 205-722-0196.