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Indiana Hoosiers Best in the Nation or Bottom of the Big Ten?

Many have spoken of a golden age of IU athletics beginning in Bloomington. National championships and national athletic department recognition only tell half the story as part of the Hoosiers need to continue building.

Travis over at Hammer and Rails wrote this piece recently about the struggles of the Purdue athletic department. He cited Indiana's high standings in the Capital One Cup and potential to win the whole thing. There was a quick retort in the comment section that Indiana was still only the 9th best athletic department in the Big Ten according the Director's Cup Standings. That comment was 100% correct and had me thinking why are they so low there but so high in the Capital One Cup standings. So I got my hands dirty and started playing with spreadsheets.

It has been no secret that Indiana is well within striking distance of winning the Capital One Cup. The Cup measures the best athletic department in the nation from year to year. If Indiana finishes with a top 4 ranking by USA Today in baseball and UNC/UCLA don't win it all they will be considered by Cap One as the best in the nation. But, that is only for the men's side. They also count the women's sports separately. This is where we see a huge gap in the Hoosiers' prowess.

In the Director's Cup standings they count the top 10 women's and top 10 men's finish for each university. By that measure, the Hoosiers are 38th in the nation and 9th in the Big Ten. With a little closer look it appears that it is the men that are pulling the weight of the program. Remove the women's teams from the equation and Indiana is a baseball national championship away from unseating Ohio State as the conference champ and top 5 finisher. That doesn't appear as likely to happen as it did on Monday, but at worst the Hoosiers would finish third to Penn State and Ohio State in a men's only standing.

So what is going on with IU's women's teams? Certainly some forgiveness can be given to a few teams. Curt Miller appears to have IU basketball on the rise, especially with recruiting. The Hoosiers women soccer team just replaced their head coach from retirement. They brought in a high quality hire by all accounts in Amy Berbary. Other sports are looking up in the recruiting aspect as well.

Running, which used to be one of our real strengths has fallen off the map a bit for the women. They're bringing in some big time talent here in the next few years though by mining Indiana's lush running culture. The volleyball team needs to follow suit. Purdue has always been a strong national contender in volleyball and they do that mostly by farming Indiana and midwest states. The Hoosiers need to pick it up there as well.

Obviously as we look at how things are going for Indiana we can look at the great strides many of the men's teams have made but Fred Glass and company now must look to the other side and bring our women's sports into the golden age as well. New facilities are mutually beneficial for both genders and I imagine we'll start to see a pickup in recruiting. Glass is already on the march for advancing the women's sports as well but they are lagging a few years behind what IU men's teams have been doing.