Not that they’ve been slacking, mind you; in fact, Florida State sportspeople have claimed an incredible 75 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) team championships across 14 separate disciplines since 1992. Furthermore, the fabled Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium is undergoing a $160 million revamp to become something worthy of the institution’s illustrious gridiron history. From 2002 to 2016, the Athens-based institution also consistently won top-20 placings in the race for the Learfield Directors’ Cup, an annual award given by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics honoring the colleges and universities in the U.S. who have had the most success in collegiate athletics. Meanwhile, famous Florida State graduates include Heisman Trophy winner Charlie Ward, record-breaking NFL receiver Randy Moss, Hall of Famer and two-time Super Bowl winner Deion Sanders and World Series champion Doug Mientkiewicz. The school has also transformed the Bright Football Complex into the ultimate collegiate athletics training compound and is planning to invest in a brand-new stadium for its most successful NCAA sport, track and field. Among them, triple jumper Michael Conley Sr., 4 x 100m sprinter Veronica Campbell-Brown, 110m hurdler Omar McLeod and 4 x 400m runner Taylor Ellis-Watson all honed their skills in Fayetteville. Henry is now a running back for the Tennessee Titans, and he’s not the only former University of Alabama student to have made it in the NFL, either. Indeed, with focus and determination, they may even become national champions before finishing their degrees, and for the best of the best, making it in the big leagues is not beyond reach. Led by two-time Olympic coach Jack Bauerle, the women’s swimming and diving team became NCAA champions in 2016, while one of their most successful recent graduates, Allison Schmitt, picked up five medals for swimming at the London 2012 Olympic Games. It’s perhaps no wonder that the University of Oregon’s track and field program has yielded such exceptional results, though, given that it has the splendid Hayward Field at its disposal. And the Ducks’ cross-country competitors are pretty impressive, too: the men’s team clinched successive NCAA titles in 2007 and 2008, with the women emerging victorious in 2012 and 2016. Since 2009 The University of Alabama’s football team has clinched four NCAA championship titles, bringing the Crimson Tide’s tally in the sport to 14. The University of Tennessee has also invested a significant amount of money into several new and revitalized facilities. Built in 1996 at a cost of $2.6 million, the Katie Seashole Pressly Softball Stadium now boasts a 2,300-square-foot locker room, team rooms and equipment rooms adjacent to a training facility and clubhouse building. The school’s most formidable period came in the 2011-12 season, a.k.a. Texas A&M University recently upgraded its historic Kyle Field, thanks to a $450 million investment, and it’s now the nation’s fourth largest football stadium by capacity. The fans have spoken. Since the 1993-94 sporting season, the University of Michigan has regularly placed within the top ten of the Learfield Directors’ Cup table; in 2015-2016, furthermore, the Wolverines have ranked third best in the nation. In an extensive study conducted by the Associated Press and then revealed in 2017, the University of Kentucky men’s basketball program was rated as the greatest of its kind ever. With a remarkable 11 NCAA championship titles to their name, the University of Connecticut’s women’s basketball team has dominated the varsity sport for much of the past 25 years. For example, in 2017 the Indiana institution’s co-ed fencing team picked up their fourth national title since the turn of the millennium, while the women’s basketball team – who have reached the Final Four six times this century – started the 2016-17 season as the nation’s top seeded team. Interested in applying to one of the nation's top softball colleges? Having boasted average attendances of over 80,000 during the 2016 NCAA Division I FBS football season, the University of Notre Dame’s fiercely independent football team may well be the school’s biggest sporting draw.


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