Elite 50: Ranking the 50 Best Colleges for Athletes

Get better at the sports you play and the life you lead at STACK. Improve your training, nutrition and lifestyle with daily

Although many college rankings focus on sports and many more deal with academics, few resources exist for athletes concerned with both. That's why STACK developed the Elite 50 five years ago. In this year's edition, you'll find 50 schools where students excel not only on the playing field, but also in the classroom.

After analyzing thousands of pages of data, from team records to U.S. News & World Reports rankings to Academic Progress Rates, we proudly present the Fifth Annual STACK Elite 50. Check out our Guide to the Elite 50 for more information on our rankings, browse the chart below to find schools that are moving up the list, and dive into our sport-specific rankings at the bottom of the page for the best schools in your sport.

NR: Not ranked in the top 195 of the '12 U.S. News & World Report Best College Rankings*Within Regional Universities categoryT: TiedDropped out: Cornell [25], Miami [28], Michigan State [32], Boise State [36], Rice [39], Northwestern [41], Cincinnati [41], Boston College [48], Princeton [50]

Read More >>

Although many college rankings focus on sports and many more deal with academics, few resources exist for athletes concerned with both. That's why STACK developed the Elite 50 five years ago. In this year's edition, you'll find 50 schools where students excel not only on the playing field, but also in the classroom.

After analyzing thousands of pages of data, from team records to U.S. News & World Reports rankings to Academic Progress Rates, we proudly present the Fifth Annual STACK Elite 50. Check out our Guide to the Elite 50 for more information on our rankings, browse the chart below to find schools that are moving up the list, and dive into our sport-specific rankings at the bottom of the page for the best schools in your sport.

College Change in Rank from Last Year Score Top-15 Ranked Sports '12 U.S. News Rank
1. Stanford Same 100 17 5
2. Florida Same 81.54 14 58
3. Texas Same 68.88 12 45
4. Duke Up 3 62.76 15 10
5. North Carolina Down 1 53.69 11 29
6. Virginia Down 1 49.79 12 25
7. Texas A&M Down 1 46.1 10 58
8. UCLA Down 2 41.67 11 25
9. Ohio State Same 35.76 7 55
10. Florida State Up 2 35.65 7 58
11. Cal Up 6 32.81 9 21
12. Notre Dame Up 4 30.8 6 19
13. USC Down 3 29.96 10 23
14. Oklahoma Up 17 29.64 6 101
15. Alabama Down 1 29.22 4 75
16. Oregon Up 3 26.58 5 101
17. Michigan Up 4 22.57 9 28
18. Washington Same 22.15 6 42
19. Virginia Tech Up 9 20.78 3 71
20. Arizona State Down 2 20.68 5 132
21. TCU Up 15 19.2 2 97
22. Butler Up 14 18.67 2 2*
23. Kansas (T) Up 5 18.14 1 101
23. UConn (T) Same 18.14 1 58
25. Syracuse NR 17.09 4 62
26. LSU Up 9 16.46 4 128
27. Penn State Down 16 16.14 4 45
28. Baylor Up 5 16.03 3 75
29. Georgia Down 14 15.72 6 62
30. Wisconsin (T) Down 4 15.4 5 42
30. Purdue (T) NR 15.4 2 62
30. Vanderbilt (T) NR 15.4 2 17
33. Maryland Down 9 15.3 4 55
34. Missouri NR 14.45 2 90
35. Tennessee Down 15 14.35 5 101
36. Georgia Tech Down 14 14.14 4 36
37. South Carolina Same 12.87 1 111
38. Oklahoma State Up 9 11.92 3 132
39. Portland Up 5 11.39 2 9*
40. Pitt Up 6 10.76 1 58
41. Minnesota Up 3 10.34 6 68
42. Akron Up 7 10.23 1 NR
43. Green Bay NR 9.7 1 78*
44. Arizona NR 8.76 4 124
45. Auburn (T) NR 8.65 3 82
45. Nebraska (T) Down 2 8.65 1 101
45. Wake Forest (T) Down 5 8.65 1 25
48. Villanova Down 14 7.91 3 1*
49. Illinois NR 7.81 4 45
50. BYU (T) Down 24 7.59 1 71
50. Clemson (T) NR 7.59 1 68
50. Gonzaga (T) NR 7.59 1 3*

NR: Not ranked in the top 195 of the '12 U.S. News & World Report Best College Rankings
*Within Regional Universities category
T: Tied
Dropped out: Cornell [25], Miami [28], Michigan State [32], Boise State [36],
Rice [39], Northwestern [41], Cincinnati [41], Boston College [48], Princeton [50]

Sport-Specific College Rankings

Football Softball Men's Swimming Men's Cross Country
Volleyball Women's Track Women's Swimming Men's Golf
Men's Basketball Men's Track Hockey Women's Golf
Women's Basketball Men's Soccer Wrestling Men's Tennis
Baseball Women's Soccer Women's Cross Country Women's Tennis
Lacrosse

Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: NEWS | STACK ELITE 50 | SPORTS