Sports R Us
Schools where the game is more important than the test.
Louisiana State University
Students at LSU are serious about sports, and so is the school's hometown. "Baton Rouge is definitely a college town. Life in this city centers around sports, drinking, and tradition. No matter where you look, whether it is on stores' signs, banners, t-shirts, advertisements, etc. there is a huge display of school pride," says Serena, a communications major. LSU's football team is by far the most popular, and Saturdays at Baton Rouge tend to revolve around games. One sophomore English student explains, "There is nothing better than spending the day tailgating with 100,000 of your closest friends, followed by a Saturday night in Death Valley for a Tiger football game."
Ohio State University
"How can you come to Ohio State and not be a fan of the Buckeyes?" asks Leslie, a sophomore education major. "People come here because they want to be known as Buckeye, as part of the biggest school in the land with the best damn band in the land and one of the best football teams." Sports are indeed a big deal at Ohio State University, and few among the school's 39,000 students would lack Leslie's passion. Malerie, a psychology student, has a different point of view: "A lot of people have superiority complexes, and if you don't like football, prepare to be ridiculed." Or, just stay in your dorm room until the game is over.
Syracuse is a huge university comprised of a number of different schools and communities that all come together to support the school's many sports teams. One sophomore student offers this quick rundown of Syracuse sports: "Basketball is the biggest sport on campus, with lax following. Football games are fun even though we can't win a game. Club sports are a big thing, especially hockey, skiing, rugby, and soccer. Athletic events are huge and absolutely should be attended." Lisa, a linguistics major, expands on Syracuse's clubs sports: "Syracuse has a fabulous club sports program. The club sports are run through recreation services. It is a well-run department of the university that is eager to involve students in activities and works for the students' benefit."
University of Alabama
"The absolute best thing about Alabama is Alabama football! The energy of the campus is phenomenal and being in the stadium with 96,000 other Crimson Tide fans is life changing!" claims a journalism sophomore. While the academics are nothing to scoff at, students don't flock to Alabama to study Shakespeare. Lucy, a junior, offers this potential warning for prospective students: "If you absolutely abhor football, you might want to hide between the months of September and December on weekends when there are home games. That is because Tuscaloosa becomes overrun with tailgaters, and shouts of "roll tide" fill the air. School spirit goes into overdrive. It is hard to resist joining in with the other 92,000 people singing the fight song when the team scores a touchdown."
University of California-Los Angeles
"Athletic events here are really popular especially since we have such a great athletic program," says one sophomore. With an undergraduate population of close to 39,000 students, UCLA has one of the largest and best athletic programs in the country. "UCLA has an amazing athletic program, and students are more than proud to be able to say that they are a Bruin. Support at football and games are amazing, and students show their pride by wearing school colors and sporting "BEAT SC" tattoos, among other things," explains Rebecca, a junior English student.
University of Connecticut
In the past decade, the UConn women's basketball team has won the NCAA Tournament five times and the men's team has won it twice. The football team is also a big contender in the Big East conference. Melissa, an environmental studies major, says simply, "The UConn basketball and football teams are life on campus." Another student has this to say about sports at UConn: "We are all crazed Husky basketball fans!!!! who love to party and don't mind flipping a car over every once in a while after winning a big game." Somebody take away her red bull.
University of Florida
Students at the University of Florida in Gainesville may have more pride for their school (and their football team) than any others in the nation. "Pretty much where ever you go, people have heard of UF and you can get a 'Go Gators!' There is so much school pride that it is crazy. People are always wearing school colors, especially during football season. Everyone on campus and everyone who is or was a gator at one point is always really friendly and nice," explains Shannon, a freshman mathematics student. Another student has this to say: "93,000 people fill the stadium for football every home game in the fall and make enough noise to hear it from across campus. Basketball isn't too different, even in bad years the arena is still one of the loudest buildings you could ever set foot in."
University of Georgia
"Football is HUGE at Georgia. There is nothing like a fall Saturday where there is a football game. Even if you are not a football fan, you will enjoy these Saturdays," says one sophomore. During the fall semester at UGA, life seems to revolve around Saturday games. Students are either filing into Sanford Stadium clad in red and black face paint, or glued to a television somewhere, probably clad in red and black face paint. "In reality, the school is obsessed with its football - over 92,000 people flock to Athens every Saturday in the fall," claims Melissa, a sophomore business student.
University of Michigan
"Football games are the focal point and probably something like 2/3 to 3/4 of the student body attends every Saturday home game," explains Colin, an English major. "I will never tire of going to the Big House. If there's anything that represents the communal atmosphere of the university, it's going to a football game in the fall with 107,501 of your best friends." Wow, that's a lot of friends! The Wolverines are consistently one of the most competitive football teams in the nation, and nothing brings a diverse student body together like a big win. Danny, another U of M student, provides this visual: "The school spirit surrounding football games and school pride in general tends to unite everyone, from the overweight tuba player in the band to the drunken frat boy who is cheering him on."
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
If you looked at every rankings list ever assembled of the nation's biggest sports schools, we're pretty confident that UNC Chapel Hill would be on all of them. Students at UNC love sports - basketball in particular - and many internationally known professional players once wore a Tar Heels jersey. "UNC is quite the basketball school. Tickets can be hard to get. The entire town is consumed with basketball during games, with peaceful riots on Franklin Street commonplace after big victories. The UNC-Duke rivalry is arguably the most intense rivalry in the nation, and watching the game anywhere in Chapel Hill is an incredible experience," explains Kennan, an international relations student. "Intramural sports are also very popular," claims another student. So if big crowds aren't your thing, there's always the broom ball team.