2017 Best College Athletics Methodology

The 2017 Best College Athletics ranking is based on student reviews and statistics for number of national championships, athletic department revenue, strength of conference, and athletic participation rates. Learn where our data comes from.

Factors Considered

Factor Description Source Weight
Student Surveys on Athletics Niche survey responses scored on a 1-5 scale regarding the quality of athletics at each school. Self-reported by Niche users 20.0%
Total Athletic Department Revenue Total revenue generated by the Athletic Department per year. U.S. Dept. of Education 15.0%
Total Athletic Conference Revenue Total revenue generated by the Athletic Conference per year. U.S. Dept. of Education 12.5%
Total Athletic Division Revenue Total revenue generated by the Athletic Division per year. U.S. Dept. of Education 12.5%
Football National Championships Number of football national championships won since 2000. Wikipedia 10.0%
Average Head Coach Salary The average salary of all head coaches at the school. U.S. Dept. of Education 7.5%
Men’s Basketball National Championships Number of men’s basketball national championships won since 2000. Wikipedia 7.5%
Other Sports National Championships Number of men’s soccer, women’s soccer, baseball, softball, men’s hockey, and women’s hockey national championships won since 2000. Wikipedia 5.0%
Women’s Basketball National Championships Number of women’s basketball national championships won since 2000. Wikipedia 5.0%
Percentage of Men in Varsity Sports Percent of male undergraduate students participating in varsity sports. U.S. Dept. of Education 2.5%
Percentage of Women in Varsity Sports Percent of female undergraduate students participating in varsity sports. U.S. Dept. of Education 2.5%

This ranking assesses 1,388 4-year colleges and universities. The same methodology is used to produce the Niche Athletics Grade for each ranked school as well as additional 4-year colleges. Statistics obtained from the U.S. Department of Education represent the most recent data available, usually from 2014–2016, as self-reported by the colleges.

For more details about how we calculate our rankings, click here.