For some students, the colorful spectacle of college sports is one of the attractions of postsecondary education. It can be a lot of fun to attend a school that gets national attention for its athletic programs.
You may be a student-athlete hoping to play on a university team, and perhaps earn a scholarship to attend the institution. Or, you could just be a big fan of college sports and all the associated activities. Of course, you are not going to choose a university solely on the prowess of its athletics. The place where you pursue your studies must also offer a degree program in the field you plan to study.
The top 8 sports schools (in terms of revenue generated by their NCAA athletics) feature a wide array of undergraduate and graduate degrees. All of them provide majors in business, education, and engineering. They vary in some other respects.
1. University of Texas
With sports revenues of more than $163 million in 2013, the University of Texas heads the list. The Longhorns have won more conference championships than another other university since the Big 12 was established in 1998.
UT has captured four national football championships and ranks second in the nation in wins. In all, the school can claim 40 national titles (in football, baseball, and track and field). Other sports include men’s and women’s basketball, golf, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field, and cross-country. Additional options for women are softball, rowing, soccer, and volleyball. UT students and alumni have won 88 Olympic medals.
The university offers undergraduate degrees in 170 fields of study. In addition to business, education, and engineering, colleges include architecture, communications, fine arts, geosciences, natural sciences, liberal arts, nursing, pharmacy, and social work. The graduate school has 154 master’s degree programs and 86 doctorates UT’s law school awards a master of laws and a doctor of jurisprudence degree.
2. Ohio State University
Another school that gets plenty of national television coverage because of its sports teams is Ohio State University. The Buckeyes have won 28 U.S. men’s championships, including seven football titles. Women’s teams have captured 30 national championships, mostly in synchronized swimming. Individual titles have been won by 232 men and 95 women.
The university has teams for both genders in basketball, cross-country, fencing, golf, gymnastics, ice hockey, lacrosse, pistol, rifle, soccer, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field, and volleyball. Men play football and wrestle, while women may choose field hockey, rowing, softball, or synchronized swimming.
The school awards 175 majors, and hundreds of minors and specializations. Colleges include architecture, arts and sciences, dental hygiene, dentistry, environment and natural resources, food and agriculture, health and rehabilitation services, medicine, nursing, optometry, pharmacy, public affairs, public health, and social work. OSU has 115 master’s programs and 90 doctorate degrees.
3. University of Michigan
Teams have been competing at this school in Ann Arbor since 1865, capturing more than 50 national championships in 12 sports. There are programs for men and women in basketball, gymnastics, lacrosse, and soccer. Other sports are football, baseball, softball, men’s ice hockey, and wrestling.
The university‘s 19 schools and colleges feature about 250 degree programs. They include architecture, art and design, dentistry, information, kinesiology, law, literature, science, medicine, music, theater and dance, natural resources and the environment, nursing, pharmacy, public health, and public policy.
Michigan’s Rackham Graduate School offers 108 doctorate programs, 87 master’s degrees, and 34 certificate programs.
4. University of Alabama
Founded in 1831, the University of Alabama is particularly famous for its football program. Fifteen of the school’s 23 NCAA titles in team sports have been won on the gridiron. Other opportunties include basketball, baseball, gymnastics, rowing, cross-country, golf, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field, and volleyball.
Alabama provides 80 types of undergraduate degrees in more than 200 fields of study. Among its colleges are those devoted to arts and sciences, communications, health services, human environmental sciences, law, nursing, and social work.
5. University of Florida
The Gators have enjoyed success on the national level in several sports. They own a pair of championship trophies in both football and men’s basketball. In all, Florida can claim 31 team titles and 193 individual championships. Most of them have been in track, gymnastics, and tennis.
The school also is famous for its baseball program, which has produced numerous major leaguers. Other sports are softball, women’s basketball, rowing, cross-country, soccer, golf, swimming and diving, and volleyball.
This university, in Gainesville, consists of 16 colleges. Among their disciplines are agriculture and life sciences, dentistry, construction design and planning, fine arts, health, journalism and communications, law, liberal arts and sciences, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, public health, and veterinary medicine.
There are 40 master’s degrees, with hundreds of specializations available, at Florida. The school offers doctorate degrees in audiology, education, plant medicine, and philosophy majors from aerospace to zoology.
6. Texas A & M
Though football is king at Texas A & M, the university also has basketball, baseball, golf, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field, and cross-country. Other options for women are softball, equestrian sports, soccer, and volleyball.
This school, in College Station, has 16 colleges with multiple degree programs. Among them are agriculture, architecture, geosciences, liberal arts, rural public health, science, veterinary medicine, and biomedical sciences. (As is the case with all the universities on this list, there are also colleges of business, education, and engineering.)
7. Louisiana State University
The Tigers of LSU have won championships in several sports. Students play football, basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, tennis, volleyball, and sand volleyball. Other sports are cross-country, gymnastics, swimming and diving, and track and field.
Colleges and schools at LSU are dedicated to agriculture, art and design, coast and environment, humanities and social sciences, mass communications, music and drama, science, and veterinary medicine.
8. Penn State
Penn State is nationally recognized for both academics and athletics. Its Nittany Lions sports programs have been extremely successful, with the football team winning several national championships. The university has programs for men and women in basketball, ice hockey, soccer, and volleyball. Other men’s sports are cross-country, fencing, field hockey, gymnastics, lacrosse, track and field, rugby, and wrestling.
Colleges within the university include agriculture, architecture, communications, earth and mineral sciences, health, information sciences and technology, liberal arts, nursing, and science.
These are the postsecondary schools that raise the most money with their sports programs. While the amount of revenue is not the only method of rating programs, it is an objective way to do it. Everyone has their favorites, which likely include colleges not mentioned in this review.
The key is to find a university that meets your academic needs, while also affording the opportunity to indulge in your passion for sports.