LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- You wonder what Tom Jurich has to do to receive an athletic director of the year award. He was passed over in favor of late Alabama athletic director Mal Moore for the Sports Business Journal honor earlier this year.
Moore's program won national titles in football and men's golf this season and captured four national titles a year ago. His recognition for turning Alabama athletics, particularly football, in the right direction certainly was deserved.
But this week, UnderArmor rolled out its National Athletic Director of the Year awards and Jurich, whose program has become the first ever to reach a BCS bowl, NCAA title games in men's and women's basketball and the College World Series in the same season, again didn't make the cut.
In fact, the UnderArmor Awards honor FOUR athletic directors. The winners were Duke's Kevin White, Northern Illinois' Jeff Compher, John Currie of Kansas State and Jeff Long of Arkansas.
I'm sure all had great seasons, but come on. The selection committee is made up of NCAA Division I conference commissioners.
Of those four schools, Duke and Arkansas do rank ahead of U of L in the annual Learfield Sports Directors Cup all-sports standings, though U of L will move ahead of Arkansas by virtue of its College World Series appearance.
U of L and Indiana both figure to move into the Top 25 of that index before their baseball seasons end.
The University of Kentucky is in line for its best finish ever in the Directors' Cup with a current rank of No. 22, seven spots higher than a year ago.
UK's biggest-scoring sport was rifle, which finished national runner-up to West Virginia.
(A note: I've had a lot of emails asking about the Capital One Cup. I don't usually recognize it as a legitimate barometer of anything. It awards points only for top 10 finishes -- but bases those on rankings, not on actual performance. It also arbitrarily weighs some sports ahead of others and separates men's and women's programs. It's a marketing ploy, not an actual measure of a department's performance. IU and U of L could finish 1-2 in that ranking, but it won't be based on performance at the College World Series. It will be determined by how the teams finish in the final USA Today-ESPN coaches' poll. The Directors' Cup has problems of its own. Rifle, for instance, has only 23 Division I participants, and it gives preference to programs that field programs in water polo and other sports outside the mainstream, but better to reward all equally than to set up some arbitrary measure of a sport's "worth.")
In any event, Jurich's accomplishment this season, not only on the field but in landing Louisville a spot in the ACC, was worthy of national recognition by any objective measure.
Prior to this season, only five schools in all of NCAA Division I had logged multiple trips to the men's and women's Final Four, a BCS bowl and the College World Series. U of L has now achieved multiple trips to all in the past seven seasons.
MEDIA HOTEL ROOMS SELL OUT FOR COLLEGE WORLD SERIES
Late Monday night, the NCAA alerted schools that it's allotment of media rooms for the upcoming College World Series in Omaha, Neb., have sold out.
Not surprising. Local hotels don't want to enter agreements with the NCAA because they want to raise room rates for the event, with many running at $299 per night and up.
What was surprising was the number of rooms the NCAA had reserved for media: 30. It's a pretty small number for an eight-team baseball contingent coming in. (Media organizations pay for the rooms, sometimes at a negotiated rate, but often not.)
The WDRB contingent, by the way, jumped on the case early and Rick Bozich, Tom Lane and Steve Andress got in. Many are left scrambling. Bozich, Lane and Andress will begin reporting from Omaha this weekend.
This must be how visiting media members feel when coming to the Kentucky Derby.
CARDINALS RANK HIGH IN RETURNING LETTERMEN
Phil Steele says the University of Louisville football team ranks No. 4 nationally in percentage of returning lettermen. With 53 returning letterwinners and only 11 lost, U of L's percentage of 82.81 places it behind only Rice, UT San Antonio and Wisconsin among schools who returned a large number of lettermen.
Steele's magazine is due out next week. He has listed Cardinals quarterback Teddy Bridgewater as his fourth-team preseason All-American quarterback, behind Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M, Braxton Miller of Ohio State and Alabama's A.J. McCarron.
I'll be hosting The Early Birds on 790 WKRD in Louisville tomorrow morning from 7-10. The guest lineup is still taking shape, but U of L president James Ramsey is expected to join me in the 8 o'clock hour.
Right after that, I'll slide over to the WDRB studio for our weekly Sports Page Live webcast at WDRB.com. Rick Bozich and I will talk College World Series, more preseason football, and take your questions.