After the end of all spring sports and the points added up, Horizon League officials awarded Oakland University’s athletic department their fourth straight McCafferty trophy, achieving 52.5 overall points while also finishing at the top of the men’s and women’s sports with 23.5 points and 29 points, respectively. This streak makes it the second-longest winning streak in the history of the Horizon League. This marks the third time Oakland Athletics has finished first in the overall standings and first in the men’s and women’s standings, which is something that no school in the Horizon League has ever done.
The Horizon League has a simple process of how they accumulate all the points to determine the winners for men’s, women’s and overall sports in the league. There are 10 schools in the Horizon League. If Oakland’s men’s basketball team finished first in the Horizon League after the season, Oakland is rewarded 10 points. If Oakland’s men’s golf team finished last in the league, then they get one point. So the higher you rank, the more points you receive. Out of the 10 schools in the league, Oakland was the only school that had more than two first place finishers in their programs. As a matter of fact, Oakland had four programs that finished first: men’s swimming & diving, women’s swimming & diving, women’s volleyball and women’s cross country.
“I am very proud of how well these programs did during their seasons. Those men and women worked very hard to get to where they are,” Interim Athletic Director Padraic McMeel said. “But what I am most proud of is our men’s baseball team. They were projected to finish at the bottom of the Horizon League… but they finished fifth in the league and got us six points for that. Very proud of them for that.”
Five years ago, Oakland joined the Horizon League and since they were new, they were “fresh meat” for other schools. But no one expected the university’s athletic programs to excel in a new league so fast. Since joining the Horizon League in 2013 the university has won four straight McCafferty trophies, but the greatest feat was that they have won best men’s sports program, best women’s sport program and best overall athletic program three years in row.
“We’ve had more first place finishers than any other school in the Horizon League,” McMeel said. “That itself shows how just how good we are and how much we take our athletics seriously.”
Although winning these awards are nice and is good for the university, McMeel says that the goal was never to keep winning the McCafferty trophy.
“The McCafferty cup is never mentioned,” McMeel said. “We don’t gather around during a meeting and discuss how we are going to win the McCafferty cup. Our main goal every year is how we are going to make our student-athletes better people. The on-the-court and on-the-field stuff is important, but what we really take pride in is the off-the-field and off-the-court stuff our student-athletes do. Our student-athletes have high GPAs, and they graduate and go on to have some great careers. That is what is important to us.”