University Park, PA
Tuition (in-state)
$28,746 ($16,444)
Admission Difficulty
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4 College Sophomore

Athletics: There are many sports celebrated at Penn State. Students love to cheer on their team and all sorts of student organizations participate in club sports and intramurals.

5 College Junior

Athletics: Everyone is involved ! It's a big part of the school life

5 College Junior

Athletics: I have had very good experiences in the gyms and athletic facilities. They are clean, well manned, well stocked, and very accommodating to the people coming there to use them.

4 College Sophomore

Athletics: Very big on school spirit.

4 Recent Alumnus

Athletics: I don't care about sports in the slightest, but everyone else here does and the facilities are great.


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Rankings View more rankings . . .

  • 17th
    Most Active Varsity Sports
  • 359th
    Best Intramural Sports

Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

James Bunting
Whitehall, PA
View all previous student authors

Football is a big part of Penn State life. Other varsity sports pale in comparison to the aura of intensity that surrounds every home football game. People fly in from all over the country to sit in the 106,000-seat Beaver Stadium. Tailgating is a full-time, three day occupation. The town really comes alive with the influx of Penn State families and visitors during a game weekend, but you can avoid this by staying on campus. You don’t have to love football to come to Penn State, but you do have to accept that Penn State loves football.

The men’s basketball team has made big strides over the past few years and has created a nice buzz on campus. The women’s volleyball team won back-to-back NCAA National Championships in 2007 and 2008. Penn State boasts one of the largest intramural sports programs in the country. The IM department hosts regular leagues in sports like soccer, softball, and flag football. They also put on special one-day events, like golf tournaments and homerun derbies.

Facts & Statistics

Athletic Association
Athletic Division
NCAA Division I-A
Athletic Conferences
Football: Big Ten Conference
Basketball: Big Ten Conference
School Colors
Blue and white
School Nickname
Nittany Lion
Men Playing Varsity Sports
438 - 2%
Women Playing Varsity Sports
327 - 2%
Students Receiving Athletic Financial Aid
Football: 90
Basketball: 25
Baseball: 28
Cross Country/Track: 47
Other Sports: 293
Graduation Rates of Athletic Financial Aid Recipients
Football: 74%
Basketball: 71%
Baseball: 67%
Cross Country/Track: 100%
Other Sports: 86%
Men's Varsity Sports
  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Fencing
  • Football
  • Golf
  • Gymnastics
  • Lacrosse
  • Soccer
  • Swimming and diving
  • Tennis
  • Track and field
  • Volleyball
  • Wrestling
Women's Varsity Sports
  • Basketball
  • Fencing
  • Field hockey
  • Golf
  • Gymnastics
  • Lacrosse
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Swimming and diving
  • Tennis
  • Track and field
  • Volleyball
Club Sports
  • Aikido
  • Archery
  • Badminton
  • Baseball
  • Basketball (men's and women's)
  • Bass fishing
  • Billiards
  • Bowling (men's and women's)
  • Boxing
  • Cheer
  • Crew
  • Cricket
  • Cross country
  • Cycling
  • Disc golf
  • Dodgeball
  • Equestrian
  • Fencing
  • Field hockey
  • Figure skating
  • Floor hockey
  • Golf
  • Gymnastics
  • Ice hockey
  • Indoor winter guard
  • Judo
  • Juggling
  • Jujitsu
  • Karate
  • Kendo
  • Korean karate
  • Lacrosse (men's and women's)
  • Martial arts
  • Nittany divers
  • Nittany grotto
  • Outing
  • Paintball
  • Powerlifting
  • Quantum jujitsu
  • Racquetball
  • Rifle
  • Roller hockey
  • Sailing
  • Shotokan
  • Ski team
  • Snowboard
  • Soccer (men's and women's)
  • Softball
  • Squash
  • Swimming
  • Synchronized swimming
  • Table tennis
  • Tae kwon do
  • Team handball
  • Tennis
  • Track
  • Triathlon
  • Ultimate Frisbee (men's and women's)
  • Volleyball (men's and women's)
  • Water polo (men's and women's)
  • Waterskiing and wakeboarding
  • Wrestling
  • Yoga and meditation
  • 3-on-3 basketball
  • 5K road race
  • Arena football
  • Badminton
  • Basketball
  • Cross country
  • Dodgeball
  • Field hockey
  • Flag football
  • Golf
  • Handball
  • Home run derby
  • Kayaking
  • Racquetball
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Squash
  • Swimming
  • Table tennis
  • Tennis
  • Track and field
  • Ultimate Frisbee
  • Volleyball
  • Wiffleball
  • Wrestling
Athletic Fields & Facilities
  • Ashenfelter Multi-Sport Facility
  • Bryce Jordan Center
  • Fitness Loft
  • Holuba Hall
  • Intramural Building
  • Lasch Building
  • Lorenzo Wrestling Complex
  • McCoy Natatorium
  • Penn State Ice Rink
  • Rec Hall Fitness Center
  • Sami Tennis Center
  • Stone Valley Recreation Area
  • Walter A. Brown Area Memorial Skating Pavilion
  • White Building Fitness Center
Most Popular Sports
There is no question that the football team holds reign over the campus. Men's basketball is gaining in popularity thanks to the Nittany Nation, Penn State's student section. Women's volleyball also has a very nice following on campus and regularly fills Rec Hall.
Most Overlooked Teams
It is easy to say that almost every team gets overlooked because of the football program, namely the women's soccer and the men's and women's fencing teams.
School Spirit
Penn State spirit has skyrocketed in recent years thanks to the football team's resurgence to a national contender. Tickets are very tough to acquire, and tent cities are constructed days before home games. That enthusiasm has transferred not only to other sports, but to the entire campus as a whole. The Nittany Lion symbol and the words, "We are Penn State" hold a lot of meaning to students and alumni.
Getting Tickets
Tickets are free to Penn State sporting events except football, baseball, basketball, wrestling, gymnastics and women's volleyball. Ticket information for these sports can be found at the Penn State Athletic Ticket Office in the Bryce Jordan Center. Phone: 1-800-NITTANY or at

Best Place to Take a Walk
The trail that runs through the Penn State golf courses is a popular spot for students and locals. On a warm spring day, joggers and walkers are all over State College.

Did You Know?
Penn State has finished in the top 25 of the Directors' Cup in every year of its existence. The Directors' Cup is a compilation of rankings in all sports.

Student Polls

How would you describe the athletic facilities?    Based on 292 responses

  • 2% The athletic facilities are relatively subpar for the demands.
  • 6% The athletic facilities are good for athletes, but only mediocre for the average students.
  • 44% Sports are important, and the quality of facilities shows that-for both athletes and non-athletes.
  • 48% The athletic facilities are some of the best in the country.

How popular are intramurals and club sports?    Based on 290 responses

  • 0% Almost no one participates in them.
  • 18% Some people participate in them, but they aren't a big part of campus life.
  • 62% They are overshadowed by varsity sports, but still a big part of campus life.
  • 20% They are just as popular as varsity sports (or even more so).

How popular are varsity sports on campus?    Based on 291 responses

  • 0% No one pays attention to varsity sports.
  • 8% Varsity sporting events are attended, but not a huge part of campus life.
  • 59% Varsity sports are a big part of campus life.
  • 33% Almost everything on campus revolves around them.



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