The Stanford women–not one team, but the entire female side of athletics–won the Capital One Cup yesterday, beating out Texas A&M and Cal for the honor. The inaugural award honors athletic excellence across sports in much the same way that the Directors’ Cup (aka The Stanford Award considering Stanford’s 17-year run with the trophy) has since the early 1990s. Stanford will receive $200,000 in scholarship money from Capital One. (It’s worth noting that Scott Allen over at Rule of Tree crunched the numbers and predicted this win well over a week ago.)
Reception of the Capital One Cup on the Farm has been less than welcoming since the award was announced last summer. It has been seen as a way for other universities to downplay the significance of the Stanford-dominated Directors’ Cup and open up competition for a department-wide athletics prize. A popular early article on The Daily Axe addressed the creation of the Capital One Cup.
While criticism of the award might seem like raining on Stanford’s parade, it’s quite the opposite. After ESPN and Capital One’s efforts to create an award that Stanford wouldn’t own, the women won it anyway in the prize’s first year. Congratulations to the Athletics Department and especially to the women’s teams whose outstanding performances secured the victory.
The Stanford men currently sit at second in the Capital One Cup standings, and just one point behind Auburn for first. Only baseball remains before a winner on the men’s side is announced, making Stanford’s prospects for winning the Cup rather slim.