There are 13 D1 colleges in Florida, but not all of them offer the same sports.
From the north in Tallahassee to the south in Miami, Florida has 13 division one colleges that offer every sport imaginable. Whether it’s football or basketball for men or softball and even rowing for women, whatever sport you are interested in, these schools listed below have it.
Located in Daytona Beach, the Wildcats are a part of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and have a total of seven men teams and eight women teams. While the school is not the most known across the state for athletics, they have won 31 MEAC titles in history with 14 coming from baseball. Although Bethune-Cookman offers every sport imaginable, baseball is definitely their strongest suit, as five former players went on to play in the majors since the school’s establishment. On the women’s side, Bethune-Cookman has won six MEAC titles in softball, so whether your a boy or girl, this university may be the place for you to continue swinging that bat.
In the heart of Miami lies the Panthers, who offer 18 D1 sports from football to even swimming and diving. Despite only being a part of Conference USA (CUSA) since 2013, the school has been D1 since 1991 and has produced many athletes that went on to have professional careers. Two of the biggest professional athletes the school produced are current Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hitlon and Olympic gold medalist Tayna Lawrence. Overall, for men, whether you may not be the biggest name on the football field, or for women, if you have a passion for track and field, Florida International may be calling your name.
If not the most notable D1 college in Florida, the Gators have always been in the spotlight for athletics. Competing in the Southeastern Conference (SEC), the school has been consistently ranked among the other top athletic programs in the country and has nine men’s teams and 12 women’s teams. Football and baseball have usually been the strong suits on the men’s side, but in recent memory basketball has played a large role, as they have consistently made the NCCA Tournament from 2017 to 2019. When not playing sports, athletes of the school have access to the “Fuel Bar,” which is a nutrition facility that any athlete can access. So, no matter what sport you play at UF, you won’t have to worry about maintaining great physical shape.
Sharing the capital city of Tallahassee with Florida State University, the Rattlers are also a member of the MEAC and have seven men’s and women’s sports each. Even though FAMU is also not that known for athletics they have excelled in football in the past, as they have won 29 conference championships in history. For women, they might not have the best programs, as the last time they were in the news was for women’s basketball when they reached the NCAA Tournament in 1999. Despite the school’s rich history in being a predominately African-American university, there is not a lot going on athletics wise.
Located 1.8 miles from the beach in Boca Raton, the Owls, who are also apart of CUSA have more women’s sports than men’s with 10 versus seven. However, football has been the most popular in recent memory ever since the hire of head football coach Lane Kiffin, who was a former offensive coordinator of college football powerhouse, the University of Alabama. While football has been more newsworthy recently, baseball and softball have dominated since the university’s beginnings, as close to 70 baseball players were able to sign professionally and softball has won nine of the last ten conference titles. Just like Bethune Cookman, FAU is also a top college to play baseball and softball at.
The Eagles are one of the two schools that don’t have a football team at their school, but that doesn’t seem to slow them down from having premier athletics. Residing in Fort Myers and a part of the Atlantic Sun Conference, FGCU has a total of 15 sports teams and became D1 in 2007. For both men and women, basketball is the most popular, as they account in over $600,000 in ticket revenue. Since the men’s team became the first number 15 seed to advance to the Sweet 16 in 2013 of the NCAA Tournament and the women’s team reaching their first tournament birth in 2010, basketball has remained at the top for FGCU athletics.
Sharing the spotlight with the University of Florida as having the most popular athletic programs in the state, the Seminoles continue to be talked about every year regarding both athletics and academics. Also in Tallahassee like FAMU, they are a part of the Atlantic Coast Conference and have 20 athletic teams. Football has always been the school’s pride and joy ever since the great head coach, Bobby Bowden, and sending players to the NFL every year. However, just like UF, basketball has taken a part of the spotlight, as they reached the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament this past season. Also, the Seminoles were ranked in the top five of the Universal Cheerleaders Association finals this year. So even though men’s sports are more talked about here, cheerleading and women’s basketball shine bright here too.
Obviously located in Jacksonville, the Dolphins are one of the fewest known for athletics in the state. However, a part of the Atlantic Sun Conference just like FGCU, a sport most of the the other universities label as clubs, lacrosse, is actually the most popular here at JU. They are the only men’s D1 lacrosse team in Florida, which goes for women too. With that said, if lacrosse is your passion, Jacksonville University may be the right place to showcase your skills.
Further south of FIU in Coral Gables, lies the Hurricanes, who are also a part of the Atlantic Coast Conference with FSU. While always having a profound history in football, as they send many players straight to the NFL, basketball and baseball are larger on the men’s side where each team usually reaches the post season consecutively. For women, however, the sport that hasn’t been discussed here yet that stands out is golf, which has won five national championships since 1970. So, despite men having the upper edge here in making a career out of their sport, a woman’s golf game could do it too.
As the other university in the state without a football team, the Ospreys are also located in Jacksonville and in the Atlantic Sun Conference. There is a larger emphasis put on both men’s and women’s basketball, in which the men’s team advanced to their first NCAA Tournament in 2015 and ever since basketball has been dominant here. Another emphasis is also on the athletic facilities, as they have a student wellness and sports education center that costed an estimated $30 million. Although sports aren’t bigger than academics here, the athletes are still treated very highly.
Since being founded in 1956, the Bulls, who reside in Tampa, are a part of the American Athletic Conference and have a defined history in football, as they’ve had many players drafted into the NFL. However, for men’s sports, golf has been their highest rated, as they’ve won 16 combined conference championships with four consecutively since 2015. On the women’s side, sailing is offered, which is nationally recognized and coached by gold medalist Allison Jolly, who participated in the first Olympic women’s sailing event at the 1988 Summer Olympics. With that said, USF offers sports that aren’t as popular across the state as they should be.
Another Atlantic Sun Conference school, the Hatters are located in DeLand and have seven men’s teams and ten women’s teams. Baseball has been the most popular sport here for men, as they’ve had some notable alumni make it to the majors, including current New York Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom and Cleveland Indians pitcher Corey Kluber. For women, golf is one of the most popular, however, what sets Stetson apart is that they also offer beach volleyball and rowing, so if you’re more into sports that are considered for the Olympics, Stetson has it.
The last college on this last, but one of the largest universities in the country, are the Knights. They are located in Orlando and like their rival, USF, are also in the American Athletic Conference. For decades football has been at the forefront for the school with many players making it to the NFL and invitations to bowl games mostly every season. Also, just like FSU, cheerleading and dance have been notable for winning national championships in 2003 and 2007, and rowing has been popular too. Besides the sports, the athletic facilities are regarded very highly, making UCF not only prolific in the state, but the entire country.