A new partnership announced Wednesday between the NCAA and corporate sponsor Capital One will reward Division I athletic programs for their cumulative on-field performance across multiple men's and women's sports. Beginning with the 2010-11 academic year, programs will compete for the Capital One Cup and $200,000 to fund graduate-level scholarships for student-athletes.
In the annual race for the Cup, schools will earn points based on their teams' top 10 finishes in NCAA Division I championships and in final official coaches' polls in 13 men's and 13 women's sports throughout the year. As Capital One chief marketing officer Bill McDonald says, it's a "year-long quest to claim the ultimate bragging rights in collegiate sports."
The official Capital One Cup standings will be released at the end of the fall, winter and spring sports seasons. In July, the two athletic programs with the highest aggregated point totals across the represented men's and women's sports will be announced as the Capital One Cup winners and receive their trophies and scholarship donations live at the ESPY Awards.
"I'd love to see it become the elite award in college athletics, where it becomes synonymous with hard work and everything that's good," former Heisman Trophy winner Doug Flutie and a member of the Capital One Cup Advisory Board, told USA Today. "Along with that, I'd like to see some respect for the non-revenue generating sports."