Top Colleges for Athletes

A top-rated college for athletics is judged on multiple criteria. If you look solely at the rated athletic colleges, you will be presented typically with your top football colleges since that draws the most attention. Looking at how many athletes have gone professional from a college, that list may showcase top-rated colleges with athletes in the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL. 

Many times all of these top colleges are the same, but that rating takes out women’s sports where the list varies slightly. If you rate the colleges and include the academics, that list changes as well as top schools with top athletics and academics. Most athletes also want to be in a school that has top academics. Below are the top-rated schools for athletes overall and what makes them the top-rated.

Number one for athletics and academics overall:

Stanford University

When ranking a college on any list, the prestigious Stanford University in Stanford, California, always is at the top. It is not an Ivy League university, but it is often considered a top school globally that competes at the east coast Ivy League rating. The school enrolls 18,000 students and has a graduation rate of 94%. It keeps its school hard to get into with a 5% acceptance rate. It offers strong academics and strong athletics in men’s and Women’s sports. It also includes a long list of notable and famous people. 

Stanford University is number one on the top athletic and academic list because of its ability to produce top sports in both genders. Not only are the students talented, but they are intelligent too. It’s not easy to practice during the week, compete, and manage a college workload. These students at Stanford receive support to keep their grades up and their focus on both school and their sport.

Top School for Recognizable athletics

University of Florida

Schools that seem to gain more athletic attention are those schools like the University of Florida, the University of Alabama, and The Ohio State University, which have large schools with top sports teams that audiences like to see on television. Often, a school that does well in an athletic conference will gain more letters of intent that following year. Schools like these spend a lot of money on their athletes and their sports programs, especially in Football, Basketball, Baseball, and Hockey, to keep a high sport profile. 

These sports programs recruit the best athletes, sometimes lowering their academic standards to get the best athlete on the team. For example, The Ohio State athletics program brought in $167 million in revenue in 2017. The University of Florida is the number one athletic school because of the many titles they have won over the years. Their NCAA championships include top football and basketball trophies. They also have a top women’s tennis team.

Top 5 Schools with Most Professional Athletes

This list is mostly based on the NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL.

  1. University of Alabama
  2. University of Florida
  3. Louisiana State University
  4. The Ohio State University
  5. University of Miami

Top Basketball College for Women and Men

University of Connecticut

The University of Connecticut has always maintained a top basketball program for both men and women. They have reached many NCAA championship titles, and the women have dominated the sport for 25 years. The school has an acceptance rate of 53% and an enrollment of 18,500 undergraduate students.


Some schools want to maintain their strong athletics, but most colleges also want to have top academics and top athletics students. A well-rounded individual is worth more to them in the end than a student who is only good at their sport. Therefore a lot of support is given to top schools that are highly rated athletic schools. 

Many NCAA rules have to be followed so a school with a top football team that gives its students many benefits will also have an equal female sports team with those same benefits. As an athlete, you may have a great scholarship, school clothing, a tutor, and access to all the best athletic trainers. Students have to maintain their eligibility to participate in their sport, and schools will make sure this happens.