Southeastern Conference athletic departments to compete in cross-team Board of Director's Cup
Chris Asadian | AnnArbor.com file photo
Starting this year, it will.With the fall sports season getting underway, so too is the first year of the SEC Board of Director’s Trophy, a competition that will measure the overall performance of schools’ athletic departments against each other.
A top-three finish by a team in the league standings will now earn a school’s athletic department points toward the SEC Board of Director’s Trophy. A school receives three points for a first place finish, two points for second, and one for third.
Just like in the sports that comprise the cup, an SEC Red and SEC White champion will be crowned.“We’ve been working on this a couple of years, trying to work out some of the bugs and finally got a draft together,” said Saline athletic director Rob White, who is chairman for the SEC athletic directors. White said the league’s board of directors -- which consists of the 12 high school principals -- approved the proposal in the winter and competition will begin this fall.
The “bugs” which White refers to is figuring out how to factor in academic performance or less quantifiable measures like sportsmanship
“There’s not exactly a rubric for sportsmanship, so we just had to figure out some things besides just giving teams points for winning,” White said. “Some schools were more reluctant, thought it would be just the strong schools getting more accolades, but when we broke it down there is more balance within the conference than our ADs originally thought.”Teams also earn points for academic performance. The top academic team in every sport - based on percentage of athletes with a 3.25 grade point average or higher - receives six points toward the standings and last place receives one point.
In the event of a tie - academically or athletically - both teams receive the amount of points for the higher place.
“People think of us as an athletic conference, but we’re an academic conference, too and we wanted to reward schools for performance in the classroom,” White said.
A school’s bottom five sports will be thrown out so that the playing field is leveled for smaller schools that don’t offer as many sports. Every championship is worth the same.
So while more people may show up to watch the SEC Red championship basketball game, it’s worth the same as the cross country championship and boys and girls sports are worth the same.
“From my standpoint, looking at what we’re going to do in Saline, we’re looking at it as a way within for programs to support each other and hopefully other schools will too,” White said. “ All the sports are worth the same and the more we get points in all sports, the closer they come to getting that trophy.
“It’s a way to recognize sports that don’t get as much attention, and for all those teams to rally behind something together.”
The plan is to have the trophy presented to the winning school at its home SEC football opener. There will be a large traveling trophy that the winning school keeps the entire year and a smaller one the schools get to keep.
“We’re hoping it builds some excitement,” White said. “We want to get players excited about winning a league title, not just in the MHSAA playoffs.”