Don’t let Northwestern’s academic reputation fool you—the school is definitely a Big 10 school. Football and basketball games against major Big 10 teams like Michigan, Purdue, and Iowa (not to mention rival University of Illinois) are well attended. The football team has gone to several bowl games in recent years, and the men’s basketball team has neared a spot in the NCAA tournament. Men’s soccer is one of the best teams in the country, and women’s lacrosse won the Division I championship five straight years from 2004 to 2009, and came back to win in 2011, as well. The football team plays at Ryan Field, and the basketball and volleyball teams play at Welsh-Ryan Arena. On game days, NU provides buses to transport students to and from the field/arena, both of which are north of campus. On-campus lakeside fields are home to soccer, field hockey, and lacrosse, so you don't have to travel far to support your Wildcats!
Most football games are very well attended. The student section is tightly packed with a sea of purple shirts. As for the rest of the stadium, though, it is not uncommon to see more shirts of the opposing team’s colors. Attendance at basketball games is not quite as substantial, but students have been making more of an effort lately. Other than basketball and football, no transportation is provided to the off-campus arena, which makes it harder for students to cheer on women’s basketball and volleyball teams. At NU, sports are what you make of them. If you choose to be a die-hard Wildcat fan, you will find others like you. If not, there will be others in the same boat.