Pick a School by its Athletic Program

With so many schools to consider, most seniors are sifting through potential colleges/universities by weighing topics such as their academics, location, affordability, and social life. These are all important topics, but allow us to introduce another aspect of college that you might want to look into: the popularity and success of their athletics program.

Many of you probably know that college athletics in the United States is a big thing. Simply read the sports section of any major U.S. newspaper, and you will see some mention of the next quarterback for Notre Dame, or the possibility of the University of Kentucky winning the basketball championship.

But why are college sports such a big thing in this nation?

There are two big reasons.

  • Firstly, schools with a successful athletics program can generate popularity at a national level. In return, this popularity generates more grants/donations, as well as more interest from potential students (you guys!).
  • Secondly, with a big athletics program, schools can make a good amount of cash. In 2015, each school in the Southeastern Conference was given approximately $31.2 million in revenue distribution. Yikes, that’s a lot of money.

athletic program

With so much hype in college sports, why not consider going to a school with a big athletics program? But be warned—sports schools are not for everyone. Here are three pros and cons that can aid you in your decision to apply to a sports school.

Pros

1. National Attention.
Nothing makes you more proud than when you see your school’s athletic teams play televised games on TV networks like ESPN, FOX, CBS, or NBC. And the more successful your college team becomes, the more likely you are to hear about it in the news!
2. Atmosphere.
College fans are notorious for being loud and obnoxious during games. This fun and exciting atmosphere is one that you will likely experience if you decide to attend a sports school. Additionally, your school will likely have cheers and traditions that you will learn, and those are always lots of fun!
3. School Pride.
With a big athletics program comes big pride. As a student, you will feel personally invested in your college team. This may cause you to boast about having the next Heisman Trophy winner, or the best ranked team in the NCAA basketball tournament. That being said, if you decide to attend a sports school, it is likely that your school pride will hit an all-time high.

Cons

1. It can be expensive.
Going to the games can become costly. Most schools offer student season ticket sales, which are heavily discounted, but it will still cost you a couple hundred dollars. You may also want to consider the amount of money you will spend on refreshments and gear, which will probably cost you another couple hundred. Total cost? Don’t be surprised if it’s an extra $500 a semester.
2. It can be distracting.
With “important” home games to attend, and equally “important” away games to watch on TV, should you spend time viewing each and every one? Or should you study for your midterm? By attending a sports school, this is a dilemma that you face on a semi-weekly basis. Choose wisely.
3. Sports schools tend to be big party schools.
Yes, we understand this is a stereotype, but most schools with big athletic programs tend to have a big party scene. This is probably because you tend to see a correlation between the party scene and how well the school’s sports teams do (e.g., making the Final Four = great parties). Although having big parties is not necessarily a bad thing, if you don’t like crazy, loud nightlife, then you may want to reconsider a sports school.