College sports have captured the hearts of millions of Americans, from loyal students and alumni cheering on their schools to local businesses and fans. Whether you follow college baseball, football, gymnastics, volleyball, soccer, or other varsity athletics, these are some of the top universities to beat:
1. Stanford University
With an impressive record in virtually every varsity sport, this Ivy League school holds the top ranking among sports colleges. Stanford has brought home the NACDA Director’s Cup award for Division I sports for the past 15 years, qualifying it as best overall for collegiate sports in the United States.
With a staff of over 100 coaches and assistants, 34 varsity sports, and about 300 athletic scholarships, it’s no wonder this school presented 49 athletes in the 2008 Beijing Winter Olympics and has over 9,000 students enrolled in intramural sports in any given semester.
2. University of Florida
Florida is renowned in a number of varsity sports, notably excelling in women’s swimming and men’s track and field in the 2009-2010 season. The Gators are also known for their strong contenders in football, men’s basketball, and women’s golf, soccer, football, tennis, and volleyball.
3. University of California Los Angeles (UCLA)
One of the country’s most widely recognized sports schools, UCLA was the first university to win over 100 NCAA championships, making the Bruins a fixture among the top basketball schools. UCLA is also renowned for its women’s sports performances, with the softball, track, gymnastics, and rowing teams excelling in 2009-2010.
4. University of Virginia
The Cavaliers raced to top positions in women’s rowing and men’s soccer in the past year, among the school’s other sporting achievements.
5. University of North Carolina
North Carolina has won 51 titles and 34 national championships in 6 different sports, making its mark as one of the top sports colleges in the United States. The university is known for its basketball team, as well as women’s soccer, women’s field hockey, and men’s lacrosse.
6. Ohio State University
Ohio State has brought home championship wins in all three of the biggest men’s sports: basketball, football, and baseball. The school is also known for victories in men’s diving, swimming, golf, track, gymnastics, men’s and women’s fencing, and more.
7. Florida State University
Florida State is a top contender in a number of college athletics programs, including football, basketball, softball, soccer, volleyball, swimming, and diving. They finished 5th in the 2009-2010 NACDA reckoning of sports colleges, placing them in the top 5 for the first time.
8. University of Texas
This Texas school has won more titles than any other school in the Big 12 League since it was founded in 1996. They’re especially known for their excellence in football, as well as putting forward strong contenders in track and baseball.
9. University of Southern California
Southern California is best known for its varsity football team, which has won 11 championships, but also excels in basketball and a host of other college athletics.
10. University of Georgia
With rigorous academic requirements for all athletes, Georgia is setting the pace for a new paradigm of scholarships among its top level football, baseball, gymnastics, tennis, and swim teams.
With the widespread popularity of college sports teams, and the consistent successes of each of these colleges on the field and in the stadium, it’s no wonder these top 10 sports schools garner the support and spirit of students and fans all over the nation.
Kelli Smith writes about colleges and universities, community colleges, online schools, and career development. She is the senior editor at www.CollegesandUniversities.org.
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