The Top Athletic Colleges

The top athletic colleges rankings are based on the current and historical success of major athletic programs including; football, basketball, baseball, and hockey to name a few – both men’s and women’s sports teams. Success is determined by the number of national championships won, overall program wins, and which sport(s) the success has came from. For example, a football national championship carries more weight than a hockey national championship because football is a more popular sport in the United States.

Let’s take a look at the top athletic colleges (in no particular order):

UCLA

Image of the UCLA Bruins logo.

The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) has the most national championships in the history of the NCAA with 114. This alone makes it one of the top athletic colleges. Of those 114 national championships, UCLA is most famous for winning 10 basketball national championships with historic coach John Wooden.

UCLA student athletes have also won 250 Olympic medals.

USC

Image of the USC Trojans logo.

The University of Southern California (USC) is the cross town rival to the UCLA Bruins – and they possess just as good, if not better athletic programs. USC has won a total of 100 national championships among all sports. The Trojans are most known for their football program, which has won 11 national championships. The school has won at least one national title in 26 consecutive years.

USC student athletics have also won 258 Olympic medals – which would rank 14th in the world if it were an independent country.

Florida

Image of the Florida Gators logo.

The University of Florida is one of only two schools to win multiple championships in the two most popular American sports (football, basketball). They are also the only school to win the national championship in football and basketball in the same calendar year. 15 years ago, Florida would not have made the list because many of these national titles have come after the year 2000.

Michigan

Image of the Michigan city flag.

The Michigan Wolverines have won 36 NCAA national championships from 10 different sports. They are most famous for winning 11 football national championships and having the most wins all time. Their men’s sports have been most dominant, winning 34 of the 36 national titles. They have also finished as national runners up 36 times in 12 different sports.

Ohio State

Image of the Ohio State Buckeyes logo.

The Ohio State University has won 26 national championships – which is the fewest among all schools listed here. What breaks them into the top 5 is that they are one of only five universities to win a national championship in football, basketball and baseball. Of their sports programs, football is what they are most famous for – winning 8 national championships. They have also had 7 Heisman Trophy winners, which is tied with Notre Dame for the most all time.

Barely missed the cut: North Carolina, Texas, Stanford, LSU and Alabama

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