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4 College Sophomore

Athletics: There's a lot to do and many ways to stay in shape. I'm not into the whole varsity college sports scene, more into intramural sports, but I know that the varsity teams are a huge part of college life and our teams always have huge events and great turnouts and over-the-top school spirit.

3 College Junior

Athletics: The school is huge, and sports are a big part of the experience for some people, but not for me. I am more interested in the music scene, which is also strong here.

5 College Junior

Athletics: There is a lot of school spirit. Students make a big deal out of the football team. The athletic facilities are some of the best in the country.

3 College Freshman

Athletics: I am super excited for the football season this year. The hiring of Lovie Smith will turn the football program around.

5 College Junior

Athletics: There is an overwhelming amount of school spirit at Illinois. The games are always on TV, and being talked about. Orange Krush is the best student section out there.


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Student Author OverviewWhat's this?

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Athletics at U of I are big, and people take sports very seriously. Whether they are spectators or participants in the game, nearly everyone on campus is interested in the outcome of the varsity sports teams. As far as basketball and football are concerned, you’ll find more students buzzing over those games than you will any other sport on campus. But this is a Division I school, so that’s expected. Intramural and club sports are also really big on campus, and they are a great way to meet people and have fun. The underwater hockey team, especially, is legendary for its crazy games. Even if you are not the best athlete you can surely find some sport that interests you through intramurals and clubs.

The gyms and playing fields are also big on campus, and some people say that they consider ARC one of their favorite hangouts. Of course, the real event here is football. People come to the games religiously, rain or snow. The Block I section is for the most dedicated fans. There, students dress in all orange and blue and hold signs to cheer on their team. The Illinettes also turn out for all the home games, and so it’s like a midday party. Even people who aren't that interested in football come out for the party atmosphere and school spirit. If you’re not a sports fan when you come to U of I, don’t be surprised if you graduate with a foam finger on your hand.


Facts & Statistics

Athletic Association
  • NAA
  • NCAA
Athletic Division
NCAA Division I-A
Athletic Conferences
Football: Big Ten Conference
Basketball: Big Ten Conference
School Colors
Orange and blue
School Nickname
Fighting Illini
Men Playing Varsity Sports
305 - 2%
Women Playing Varsity Sports
203 - 1%
Students Receiving Athletic Financial Aid
Football: 85
Basketball: 28
Baseball: 24
Cross Country/Track: 49
Other Sports: 169
Graduation Rates of Athletic Financial Aid Recipients
Football: 60%
Basketball: 57%
Baseball: 44%
Cross Country/Track: 40%
Other Sports: 76%
Men's Varsity Sports
  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Football
  • Golf
  • Gymnastics
  • Tennis
  • Track and field
  • Wrestling
Women's Varsity Sports
  • Basketball
  • Golf
  • Gymnastics
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Swimming and diving
  • Tennis
  • Track and field
  • Volleyball
Club Sports
  • Badminton
  • Baseball
  • Competitive Cheerleading
  • Dance team
  • Gymnastics
  • Hockey
  • Lacrosse
  • Martial arts
  • Powerlifting
  • Racquetball
  • Roller hockey
  • Rugby
  • Soccer
  • Softball (fast pitch)
  • Synchronized ice skating
  • Synchronized swimming
  • Table tennis
  • Trap and skeet
  • Triathlon
  • Ultimate Frisbee
  • Underwater hockey
  • Volleyball
  • Water polo
  • Badminton
  • Basketball
  • Broomball
  • Flag football
  • Ice hockey
  • Kickball
  • Racquetball
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Volleyball
Athletic Fields & Facilities
  • Activities and Recreation Center (ARC)
  • Arboretum
  • ARC Pool
  • Armory
  • Assembly Hall
  • Atkins Tennis Center
  • Campus Recreation Center East (CRCE)
  • Complex Fields
  • Eichelberger Field
  • Freer Hall Pool
  • Golf Facilities
  • H.E. Kenney Gym
  • Huff Hall
  • Ice arena
  • Illini Grove
  • Illinois Field
  • Illinois Track & Soccer Stadium
  • Irwin Indoor Facility
  • Memorial Stadium
  • Outdoor Center Fields
  • Residence hall gyms
  • Ubben Basketball Complex
Most Popular Sports
There is a lot of interest in sports,especially football and basketball. The fate of these two teams is taken personally by students and community residents alike, and everyone goes to the games to support them and cheer them on, regardless of the weather.
Most Overlooked Teams
The women's tennis team has done very well in the past, however, the women tend to get overshadowed by the men's tennis team.
School Spirit
School spirit comes and goes in spurts. Everyone is very loyal during the first few weeks of the school year because they are all glad to be back and in good sprits. Then the winter wind starts blowing and none of us can figure out why we came to school here in the first place. When there is any work to be done, people are usually frustrated with being at college, but once the weekend starts, people don't really seem to mind. On the whole, though, everyone is usually happy with their college decision, and everyone always turns out to support the football team, no matter what the weather. If that isn't school spirit, then I don't know what is. Illini or bust.
Getting Tickets
It is usually easy to get tickets for sporting events, as long as it is not a big game. There is generally a good turnout, especially at the football and basketball games. Money is not an issue either, as you can get a good price with your student ID.
Best Place to Take a Walk
Allerton Park, Arboretum, or Japan House Gardens

Student Polls

How popular are varsity sports on campus?    Based on 391 responses

  • 12% Almost everything on campus revolves around them.
  • 64% Varsity sports are a big part of campus life.
  • 24% Varsity sporting events are attended, but not a huge part of campus life.
  • 1% No one pays attention to varsity sports.

How popular are intramurals and club sports?    Based on 391 responses

  • 20% They are just as popular as varsity sports (or even more so).
  • 45% They are overshadowed by varsity sports, but still a big part of campus life.
  • 34% Some people participate in them, but they aren't a big part of campus life.
  • 1% Almost no one participates in them.

How would you describe the athletic facilities?    Based on 392 responses

  • 37% The athletic facilities are some of the best in the country.
  • 56% Sports are important, and the quality of facilities shows that-for both athletes and non-athletes.
  • 5% The athletic facilities are good for athletes, but only mediocre for the average students.
  • 2% The athletic facilities are relatively subpar for the demands.



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