New Report Lists Two Indiana University’s Among Nation’s Best for Sports Lovers
Everyone knows we love our basketball here in Indiana, but football has certainly pulled into a close second over the years. The popularity of both those sports, along with a few other factors, have landed two universities in the state among the 100 best for sports loving fans according to a joint list between Time and Sports Illustrated magazines.
The two publications took several factors into consideration as they compiled the list including institutions listed on Time’s annual ranking of the Best Colleges in the country, as well as “15 sports-specific data points” they split between athlete opportunities and fan experience.
University of Notre Dame
You don’t have to go far to find the first university from the Hoosier state on the list as the University of Notre Dame sits in the number two spot just behind Andrew Luck’s alma mater, Standford University. Fighting Irish football clearly is king in South Bend, and as a Catholic, I think it’s in the Bible somewhere that I have to be a fan. Consistently recognized as a national title contender, the program boasts 11 national championships, and an average game attendance of 80,795 fans.
With that said, Notre Dame basketball has started leaving its mark on the national stage as well. The men’s squad has earned a berth in eight of the last ten NCAA tournaments, advancing to the Elite Eight the past two seasons, while the women’s program has appearing in six Final Fours since 2000, winning it all in 2001. The study also factored in the success of other sports in it’s ranking including soccer, lacrosse, and hockey, as well as Notre Dame’s 98% graduation rate which includes such famous alumni at TV personalities Regis Philbin, Hannah Storm, and Phil Donahue, as well as former Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice.
I’ve been on the Notre Dame campus once, however it was during football’s offseason. Getting back there to experience the atmosphere of a home game is certainly on my sports bucket list.
A little further down the list — OK, quite a bit further, but on the list nonetheless, is Indiana University at number 69. While the authors of the list only provide details on a schools rankings for the top 25 listed, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that unlike Notre Dame, Basketball rules the roost, and has for some time, in Bloomington. A quick bit of research tells us the men’s squad has made 39 appearances in the annual NCAA Tournament, winning five national championships in the process. The men’s soccer team has also seen it’s fair share of success, making 14 national championship appearances, and winning eight since 1976.
According to U.S. News and World Report, the University has a 60% four-year graduation rate, and boasts such famous alumni as businessman Mark Cuban, musician John Mellencamp, TV personalities, Jane Pauley, Joe Buck, and Sage Steele, as well as actor Kevin Kline, and current Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence.
While I spent quite a few weekends at IU visiting friends who attended there during my college years (some I remember more than others), I’ve never been to basketball game inside the famed Assembly Hall (or “Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall” as it’s known these days), however I have been in the stands for the annual Old Oaken Bucket football game between IU and in-state rival, Purdue. Hopefully, I can cross a trip to Assembly Hall off the aforementioned sports bucket list before my days come to an end.
To see the rest of Time and Sports Illustrated’s list of the 100 Best Colleges for Sports-Loving Fans, check out the Time Magazine website.