Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sasser Cup Mania

Okay, that's obviously an exaggeration...you really don't run into any "Sasser Cup Mania" out there, but it is a big deal for the member schools of the Big South...after all, it establishes which of the ten institutions produced the best overall athletic program performance in a given year.

The update through the end of the fall competition came out a few days ago, with some interesting results. For example, you might think that since Liberty has claimed more titles than anyone else (Men's Cross Country, Volleyball, Football), that they might be a natural number one. Ah, but no--that's where the point system comes in for all the programs involved: it's not just taking a tourney title, it's the regular season, it's consistently high performance, it's all of that rolled together!

Through the fall, the overall leader is actually Coastal Carolina, with High Point second, and Liberty third...plus Winthrop and VMI to round out the top five. On the women's side, the order is Coastal-HPU-VMI-Liberty-Radford. For the men, the top programs are Winthrop-Liberty-HPU-Coastal-UNCA.

The Sasser Cup, named for former Big South Commissioner Buddy Sasser, is designed to reward the most consistently strong program for the course of a full athletic calendar. The last ELEVEN have all gone to either Liberty (6) or Coastal Carolina (5). CCU has an additional four Cups from earlier seasons, giving the Chanticleers a Conference-best total of nine! LU's half dozen (including last year's win)gets them second place on that list, followed with three each by former members UNC Greensboro and Campbell, and finally two wins by Winthrop...for a total of 23 such awards given by the Big South.

With consistency as the buzzword, you can sort of tell by looking through the numbers that it was a last-place finish in women's soccer that brought the Flames down a couple of pegs for now (only one point on the weighted scale, with no tournament appearance points to add). The numbers at this point give you a barometer of where programs are, but that's only one-third of the total sports recognized in the standings, so there's a loooooong way to go before anyone gets to lift the trophy and claim honors as the best!

In other news, you can click the following link if you want to see my latest report on Big South men's basketball for Rush the Court ("college basketblog").
Hope your holiday plans are going well...more SHOUT coming soon!

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