Are you an incoming college freshman? Sports will always be a part of college students, regardless of their educational institution. Not everyone can be sports-minded, but college sports bring out a sense of pride. It also brings more value to educational institutions as a whole.

If you have no specific sports in mind, you might ask: what are the most popular college sports to watch or play? Read on as our guide lists some of the best options around:

American Football

American football is the most popular among college sports. It also predates the National Football League (NFL) by several decades.

In the NCAA, football boasts of the highest number of participants across all sports. During the fall months, American football commands millions of viewers.

The NCAA football playoffs are the seventh highest-grossing sporting event in the country. It grosses an average of $5.6 billion in revenue annually.


Following American football is basketball, with over 26 million Americans playing the game. Like football, basketball comes with a rich tradition. Dr. James Naismith first introduced the sport in 1891 in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Today, millions of people enjoy NBA games across the world. The excitement of watching basketball can become more intense at the college level.

March Madness, which happens every March, features a 68-team tournament. The college teams face off to determine the men’s collegiate champions of the NCAA Division I.

The 2021 March Madness men’s finals drew 16.9 million viewers. At the high school level, states declare the champions.


Millions of Americans still consider baseball as their favorite pastime. It is despite the NFL’s and the NBA’s rising popularity over the last few years. Unlike basketball or football, baseball’s rules are more complex.

This complexity adds to the excitement and mystique of the sport. It may not have a tournament as popular as March Madness, but NCAA baseball draws a huge crowd.

The collegiate summer leagues also draw college students wishing to remain eligible for college baseball during spring.


Soccer continues to grow its fan base in the United States, both at collegiate and professional levels. Experts also predict Major League Soccer (MLS) overtaking Major League Baseball (MLB) over the next decade.

At the college level, several soccer leagues cater to students. Aside from the NCAA, there are the NAIA, the NCCAA, and the USCAA. They have collegiate club teams, but they do not represent any collegiate programs.

Despite this, college soccer attracts over 7,000 spectators in various stadiums. After the NCAA season, professional soccer clubs pick their players from the collegiate ranks.


Collegiate volleyball primarily attracts female followers. The sport is part of the NCAA but only caters to female volleyball players. Despite this, volleyball draws a huge crowd, more so when the stakes are higher.

What makes volleyball interesting is its intensity, despite being a non-contact sport. It involves strategic combinations, endurance, and timing from the athletes.

Some of the more popular collegiate volleyball programs in the U.S. include Michigan State University, the Pennsylvania State University, and Brigham Young University. Michigan’s program is one of the oldest.

Stanford University, the University of Florida, and Iowa State University also attract some of the best college volleyball players.


Tennis is another popular college sport drawing spectators. The rules are simple, but it is highly competitive.

The NCAA’s women’s tournament is a staple among annual collegiate sporting events. The popularity of the four Majors or Grand Slams plus the Olympics makes it more appealing.

College tennis players use the sport as a way to experience high-level competition. After all, it can open a door toward a professional career.

Track and Field

Track and field is a collection of sporting events catering to a diverse talent pool. The sports primarily involve individuals competing in individual or combined events.

The U.S. has some of the world’s finest track and field athletes. After all, various colleges and universities sponsor their athletes. The best will represent the country in major sporting events, including the Olympics.

Ice Hockey

Collegiate ice hockey often attracts a regional following. However, the sport still plays a crucial role in developing professionals. The future stars of the NHL come from either the northeastern or upper Midwestern parts of the country.

Like the NCAA basketball Final Four, collegiate hockey has the Frozen Four. It features the top four teams vying for the national collegiate championship.


Cricket may not be as popular in the U.S., but it has a following among Commonwealth countries. In India, high school and college students have cricket teams vying for championships.

In the U.S., cricket saw its heyday back in the 18th and 19th centuries. The sport was the most popular in the country before baseball’s emergence in the 20th century. A cricket match between the U.S. and Canada in the 1800s drew up to 10,000 spectators.

Today, the United States Youth Cricket Association looks to attract youngsters and develop those showing interest.

Benefits of College Sports

College sports help universities and students beyond enriching physical health. Athletic programs help generate direct profits for the universities. Profitable programs can rake millions in branding rights, donations, and ticket sales.

Successful programs also boost enrollment. If a high school student wishes to become a pro athlete, they will enroll in a school with a winning tradition.

Even if they do not become professionals, the students will develop better habits. They will likely take care of their bodies and practice discipline. It applies regardless of their career in the future.

For the schools, they need to invest and protect the welfare of their student-athletes. A college organization can request Pomi insurance quotes to provide financial coverage.

Choose Your College Sports Now

Learning about college sports gives you a better appreciation of the athletes. It also makes you cheer louder for your alma mater. It is also a great way of discovering the right sport to join.

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