Ithaca, NY
Admission Difficulty
Very Hard
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4 College Senior

Athletics: Sports is a big culture at Cornell. The facilities are nice and open to students

5 College Student

Athletics: The Sports scene at Cornell is a hit or miss, but in the end it's a good balance. Coming from the Midwest, I honestly miss Big Ten football and basketball, but other sports such as hockey and lacrosse are more than enough to fill the void. As one of the top teams in the nation, Cornell Hockey is the epitome and center of Cornell Sport culture, and it is truly exciting to be a part of it. As a season ticket holder, I can pledge that home hockey games are always fun, highly spirited, and never boring affairs. The cozy rink fills pretty much for every game, and Student section tickets (if you know what you're doing) are fairly cheap.

If you're a fanatic, like me. Don't worry. Priorities change when you go to college. To be honest, it's all I can do to get to the Rink on Fridays. Cornell is a challenging school. If you manage to make time to follow ANY of the sports here, I'd say that's a success.

3 College Freshman

Athletics: I don't really care about sports so I'm no export, but the main sport Cornell people care about is hockey and were apparently pretty good. I've been to the gym and its decent but the fee is a separate charge.

4 College Freshman

Athletics: Each sport has it's own practice area, and there are indoor fields, outdoor fields, rinks and everything needed for each varsity sports team. School spirit is strong especially for hockey, and team performances are good for most sports.

2 College Junior

Athletics: I'm sad to say people don't come to Cornell to care about sports. Men's Lacrosse and Hockey are pretty big/good. But Football is bad, and there is relatively no tailgating.

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Rankings View more rankings . . .

  • 1060th
    Best Intramural Sports
  • 1186th
    Most Active Varsity Sports

Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Mandy Kain and Radhika Arora
Hewlett, N.Y., and Ithaca, N.Y.
View all previous student authors

Although Cornell isn’t seriously focused on its athletic program like one of the Big 10 schools, we still come to dominate in several sports, including hockey, lacrosse, wrestling, and polo. In the future, it is without a doubt that Cornell will become increasingly more competitive and progressively more powerful in Division I athletics. As a result, the next few years will be a very exciting time for Big Red sports, and the future has big things in store as Cornell continues to catch more glimpses in the national spotlight!

Cornell is well-known for its men’s hockey team, which constantly ranks in the national top 10. Lynah Rink is consistently packed for home games, and students camp out days in advance just to secure season tickets. The football team, although not nearly as good, attracts a decent-size crowd during home games in Schoellkopf Stadium. However, most other teams fail to draw so much attention and students are generally apathetic and indifferent to the results of some other up-and-coming teams. Many students like intramural sports. Intra-school competition is fierce, especially amongst Greek members. IMs are a great way to stay active, get some exercise, and meet new people with similar interests.

Facts & Statistics

Athletic Association
Athletic Division
NCAA Division I-AA
Athletic Conferences
Football: Ivy Group
Basketball: Ivy Group
School Colors
Red and white
School Nickname
Big Red (Contrary to popular belief, the Big Red Bear is not the official Cornell mascot. Since the University doesn't have an official mascot, it is simply the Big Red.)
Men Playing Varsity Sports
633 - 9%
Women Playing Varsity Sports
474 - 7%
Men's Varsity Sports
  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Football
  • Golf
  • Ice hockey
  • Lacrosse
  • Other sports
  • Rowing
  • Soccer
  • Squash
  • Swimming and diving
  • Tennis
  • Track and field
  • Wrestling
Women's Varsity Sports
  • Basketball
  • Equestrian
  • Fencing
  • Field hockey
  • Gymnastics
  • Ice hockey
  • Lacrosse
  • Other sports
  • Rowing
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Squash
  • Swimming and diving
  • Tennis
  • Track and field
  • Volleyball
Club Sports
  • Aikido
  • Baseball
  • Basketball (women's)
  • Big Red Bears
  • Bodybuilding and nutrition
  • Bowling
  • Boxing
  • Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, CUBJJ
  • Cayuga windsurfing
  • Chinese tennis
  • Cricket
  • Cycling
  • Fencing
  • Figure skating
  • Gymnastics
  • Ithaca underwater hockey
  • Juggling
  • Karatedo doshinkan
  • Kendo
  • Lacrosse (men's and women's)
  • Nordic ski racing
  • Paintball
  • Roller hockey
  • Rugby
  • Sailing
  • Shotokan karate
  • Ski and snowboard
  • Soccer (men's and women's)
  • Sport Tae Kwon Do
  • Synchronized skating
  • Table tennis
  • Tennis
  • Triathlon
  • Ultimate Frisbee
  • Volleyball (coed, men's, and women's)
  • Water polo (men's and women's)
  • Wrestling
  • Wushu
  • Badminton
  • Basketball
  • Cross country
  • Disc golf
  • Dodgeball
  • Flag football
  • Floor hockey
  • Golf
  • Horseshoes
  • Ice hockey
  • Innertube water polo
  • Intramural Sports Challenge
  • Kickball
  • No tap bowling
  • Sand Volleyball
  • Soccer (indoor and outdoor)
  • Softball
  • Squash
  • Table Tennis
  • Tennis
  • Ultimate Frisbee
  • Volleyball
  • Wrestling
Athletic Fields & Facilities
  • Bartels Hall
  • Barton Hall
  • Friedman Strength and Conditioning Center
  • Helen Newman Hall Recreation Center
  • James Lynah Rink
  • John Collyer Boat House and Doris Robison Shell House
  • Noyes Community Recreation Center
  • The Oxley Equestrian Center
  • Reis Tennis Center
  • The Robert J. Kane Sports Complex
  • Robert Trent Jones Golf Course
  • Teagle Hall
Most Popular Sports
Men's hockey, football, lacrosse, and women's lacrosse and soccer
Most Overlooked Teams
Wrestling, field hockey, gymnastics
School Spirit
All Cornellians undoubtedly take pride in their school. Especially as alumni, former students feel even more connected to the school after having put things in perspective and reflected upon past experiences. However, students don't necessarily have a tremendous amount of "ra-ra" spirit in support of its athletic teams. School spirit seems to be more contained to specific groups like colleges (the School of Hotel Administration), departments (applied economics and management), organizations and clubs, and fraternities and sororities.
Getting Tickets
Some sporting events are free, but the more popular sports (football, basketball, ice hockey, lacrosse, soccer, indoor track, volleyball, lacrosse, and wrestling), you have to pay for tickets. For Cornell students, the prices are low, around $3. Most can be purchased online at or over the phone (607) 254-BEAR. The notable exception is ice hockey tickets, which is, by far, Cornell's most popular sport. Tickets per game are around $18 for Cornell students, but season tickets are quite expensive ($171/graduate student, $247/undergraduate) and somewhat difficult to obtain, requiring students to wait in line for hours at Lynah Rink. Most students will split a batch of season tickets.
Best Place to Take a Walk
The Gorges, the Plantations

Student Polls

How popular are varsity sports on campus?    Based on 80 responses

  • 5% No one pays attention to varsity sports.
  • 71% Varsity sporting events are attended, but not a huge part of campus life.
  • 24% Varsity sports are a big part of campus life.
  • 0% Almost everything on campus revolves around them.

How popular are intramurals and club sports?    Based on 79 responses

  • 1% Almost no one participates in them.
  • 44% Some people participate in them, but they aren't a big part of campus life.
  • 37% They are overshadowed by varsity sports, but still a big part of campus life.
  • 18% They are just as popular as varsity sports (or even more so).

How would you describe the athletic facilities?    Based on 82 responses

  • 5% The athletic facilities are relatively subpar for the demands.
  • 32% The athletic facilities are good for athletes, but only mediocre for the average students.
  • 51% Sports are important, and the quality of facilities shows that-for both athletes and non-athletes.
  • 12% The athletic facilities are some of the best in the country.



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