This may be a bit difficult to process:
Johns Hopkins and Notre Dame won more Big Ten athletic championships than Iowa during the 2017-18 school year.
That’s kind of an oddity given, you know, neither of those two universities are actually in the Big Ten.
But Johns Hopkins is a sports affiliate member of the Big Ten in men’s and women’s lacrosse, giving the league six men’s and seven women’s programs in that sport. Those are Johns Hopkins’ only two Division I programs. Its other 22 are Division III.
Hopkins defeated Maryland 13-10 in this spring’s conference-tournament final. The two schools have two Big Ten titles apiece in the four-year history of Big Ten men’s lacrosse tournaments. Hopkins has won nine NCAA D-I titles since 1974. Good get, Big Ten.
Notre Dame, meanwhile, became a sports affiliate Big Ten member in men’s ice hockey a year ago, and defeated Ohio State in the conference’s tournament final after having won the conference regular-season crown.
The Fighting Irish defeated Michigan in an “All-Big Ten” national semifinal before losing to Minnesota Duluth in the championship. UMD beat Ohio State in the Frozen Four’s semis.
It’s pretty great that Johns Hopkins and Minnesota Duluth not only can compete against Michigan and Ohio State, but are formidable foes. In certain sports, anyway.
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Of the 41 Big Ten tournament or regular-season championships in 2017-18, the final tally is this: Michigan 11, Ohio State 10, Minnesota 5, Maryland 3, Illinois 2, Michigan State 2, Notre Dame 2, Penn State 2, Indiana 1, Northwestern 1, Wisconsin 1, Johns Hopkins 1, Iowa 0, Nebraska 0, Purdue 0, Rutgers 0.
Iowa had one Big Ten champ in 2016-17, the baseball team in the conference tournament.
Which brings us to the 2018 Learfield Directors Cup Division I final standings. That’s the all-sports point system used to determine how entire athletic programs stack up. Iowa was 54th. Which, as you might imagine, isn’t exactly where it wants to be. Especially since it ranked 13th of the 14 Big Ten schools.
Not much has changed, really. Iowa was 51st in 2016-17, 62nd in 2015-16. It was 12th-best in the Big Ten a year ago, but got passed by Michigan State this time around.
Rutgers was again a distant 14th. It was 107th nationally, an improvement of nine spots from last year.
Iowa got points from football (the Cup considers you in 26th place nationally if you don’t finish the season in USA TODAY’s final Top 25 but win a bowl game), men’s swimming, women’s indoor track and field, women’s rowing, men’s and women’s track and field, and women’s basketball.
Stanford, by the way, won its 24th-straight Learfield Cup. The school’s high academic standards don’t appear to be getting in the way of athletic success.
Michigan and Ohio State, at Nos. 6 and 7 nationally, respectively, were the two top Big Ten programs in the national standings. Not coincidentally, OSU was third in the NCAA in athletic revenue in fiscal year 2017, and Michigan was fourth. Iowa was 18th, fifth-highest in the Big Ten.
In the Directors Cup standings, Penn State is 12th, followed by No. 19 Minnesota, No. 22 Wisconsin, No. 34 Northwestern, No. 36 Illinois, No. 39 Purdue, No. 44 Nebraska, No. 49 Indiana, No. 50 Michigan State and No. 53 Maryland.
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Iowa State was 56th, sixth among Big 12 schools. It was 50th in the NCAA in revenue in fiscal year 2017.
Iowa’s athletic department uses the motto “Win. Graduate. Do It Right.” Maybe it should add “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad.”
The Hawkeyes can’t do anything about the successes of Johns Hopkins and Notre Dame, since Iowa doesn’t have lacrosse or ice hockey programs. If there is a Big Ten title to be won by the Hawkeyes next school year, it must come from one of their 10 men’s and 12 women’s teams.
After going 0-for-2017-18, there’s nowhere to go but up. If nothing else, the Hawkeyes aren’t getting defeated in head-to-head competition with Johns Hopkins.
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