Programs That Inspire

Men's Basketball, Fall 2020

The Top 20 (Rank, School, Affiliation)

  1. Wisconsin – Oshkosh (WI, NCAA Division 3)

  2. NW Missouri State (MO, NCAA Division 2)

  3. Williams College (MA, NCAA Division 3)

  4. Azusa Pacific University (CA, NCAA Division 2)

  5. University of Rochester (NY, NCAA Division 3)

  6. Middlebury College (VT, NCAA Division 3)

  7. St. Anselm College (NH, NCAA Division 2)

  8. Pomona – Pitzer (CA, NCAA Division 3)

  9. Seattle Pacific University (WA, NCAA Division 2)

  10. Emory University (GA, NCAA Division 3)

  11. Carroll College (MT, NAIA)

  12. Christopher Newport University (VA, NCAA Division 3)

  13. Wittenberg University (OH, NCAA Division 3)

  14. West Chester University (PA, NCAA Division 2)

  15. Nebraska Wesleyan University (NE, NCAA Division 3)

  16. Augustana College (IL, NCAA Division 3)

  17. Indiana Wesleyan University (IN, NAIA)

  18. Queens University (NC, NCAA Division 2)

  19. Swarthmore College (PA, NCAA Division 3)

  20. Yeshiva University (NY, NCAA Division 3)

"It's critical, particularly in this moment, to recognize individual programs and coaches, as well as athletic departments that provide exceptional experiences to student-athletes. These athletic programs strengthen their institutions as a whole. Participating student-athletes develop into successful alumnae with powerful ties to the college and the capacity to pay their experience forward," says College Athletic Advisor's CEO, Dave Morris. "It's exciting to be able to recognize this particularly elite collection of programs and also remind folks that many programs in NCAA Divisions 2 and 3, the NAIA, and the USCAA are serving student-athletes and their institutions in life changing ways."

Women's Soccer Programs That InspireWomen's Soccer, Fall 2020

The Top 20 (Rank, School, State, Affiliation)

  1. William Smith (NY, NCAA Division 3)

  2. Western Washington (WA, NCAA Division 2)

  3. Christopher Newport (VA, NCAA Division 3)

  4. College of St. Rose (NY, NCAA Division 2)

  5. University of Tampa (FL, NCAA Division 2)

  6. University of Chicago (IL, NCAA Division 3)

  7. Grand Valley State (MI, NCAA Division 2)

  8. Westmont College (CA, NAIA)

  9. Johns Hopkins (MD, NCAA Division 3)

  10. Sonoma State (CA, NCAA Division 2)

  11. Middlebury College (VT, NCAA Division 3)

  12. Benedictine College (KS, NAIA)

  13. The College of New Jersey (NJ, NCAA Division 3)

  14. Rollins College (FL, NCAA Division 2)

  15. St. Edward’s (TX, NCAA Division 2)

  16. Pomona – Pitzer (CA, NCAA Division 3)

  17. Indiana Wesleyan (IN, NAIA)

  18. Hardin-Simmons (TX, NCAA Division 3)

  19. Colorado School of Mines (CO, NCAA Division 2)

  20. UMass - Boston (MA, NCAA Division 3)

Men's Soccer, Fall 2020

The Top 20 (Rank, School, State, Affiliation)

  1. Amherst College (MA, NCAA Division 3)

  2. SUNY – Oneonta (NY, NCAA Division 3)

  3. Cal State – Los Angeles (CA, NCAA Division 2)

  4. Ohio Wesleyan (OH, NCAA Division 3)

  5. Centre College (KY, Division 3)

  6. University of West Florida (FL, NCAA Division 2)

  7. Swarthmore College (PA, NCAA Division 3)

  8. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (CA, NCAA Division 3)

  9. Colorado School of Mines (CO, NCAA Division 2)

  10. Mary Washington University (VA, NCAA Division 3)

  11. UC – Merced (CA, NAIA)

  12. Maryville University (MO, NCAA Division 2)

  13. Wisconsin – Whitewater (WI, NCAA Division 3)

  14. Lynn University (FL, NCAA Division 2)

  15. Missouri Valley College (MO, NAIA)

  16. Rowan University (NJ, NCAA Division 3)

  17. Gettysburg College (PA, NCAA Division 3)

  18. Calvin University (MI, NCAA Division 3)

  19. Adelphi University (NY, NCAA Division 2)

  20. Pacific Lutheran (WA, NCAA Division 3)

Football, Fall 2020

The Top 20 (Rank, School, State, Affiliation)

  1. St. John’s University (MN, NCAA Division 3)

  2. Univ. of Central Missouri (MO, NCAA Division 2)

  3. Wisconsin – Oshkosh (WI, NCAA Division 3)

  4. Texas A&M Commerce (TX, Division 2)

  5. University of West Florida (FL, NCAA Division 2)

  6. Salisbury University (MD, NCAA Division 3)

  7. Minnesota State University (MN, NCAA Division 2)

  8. Carroll College (MT, NAIA)

  9. Wisconsin - Whitewater (WI, NCAA Division 3)

  10. Valdosta State University (GA, NCAA Division 2)

  11. Grand Valley State University (MI, Division 2)

  12. Marian University (IN, NAIA)

  13. Linfield College (OR, NCAA Division 3)

  14. Chapman University (CA, NCAA Division 3)

  15. Savannah State University (GA, NCAA Division 2)

  16. Trinity College (CT, NCAA Division 3)

  17. Muhlenberg College (PA, NCAA Division 3)

  18. Union College (NY, NCAA Division 3)

  19. Benedictine College (KS, NAIA)

  20. Shepherd University (WV, NCAA Division 2)

Men's LacrosseLax Programs That Inspire Logo

The Top 10 (Rank, School, State, Affiliation)

  1. Salisbury University (MD, NCAA Division 3)

  2. Le Moyne College (NY, NCAA Division 2)

  3. Wesleyan University (CT, NCAA Division 3)

  4. Tufts University (MA, NCAA Division 3)

  5. Denison University (OH, NCAA Division 3)

  6. Adelphi University (NY, NCAA Division 2)

  7. Cabrini University (PA, NCAA Division 3)

  8. University of Tampa (FL, NCAA Division 2)

  9. SUNY – Cortland (NY, NCAA Division 3)

  10. (tie) Rhodes College (TN, NCAA Division 3)

(tie) Dickinson College (PA, NCAA Division 3)


Women's Lacrosse

The Top 10 (Rank, School, State, Affiliation)

  1. Middlebury College (VT, NCAA Division 3)

  2. Adelphi University (NY, NCAA Division 2)

  3. Salisbury University (MD, NCAA Division 3)

  4. Gettysburg College (PA, NCAA Division 3)

  5. West Chester University (PA, NCAA Division 2)

  6. The College of New Jersey (NJ, NCAA Division 3)

  7. Colorado College (CO, NCAA Division 3)

  8. Florida Southern College (FL, NCAA Division 2)

  9. Catholic University (DC, NCAA Division 3)

  10. (tie) Savannah College of Art & Design (GA, NAIA)

 (tie) Franklin & Marshall College (PA, NCAA Division 3)

About These Rankings

Men's Basketball Release: 10/21/20

Women's Basketball Release: 10/28/20

These holistic program rankings are open to all 4-year U.S. collegiate level programs sponsoring each sport outside of NCAA Division 1 (so this is a top 20 out of over 1,500 colleges & universities that could potentially sponsor a given sport). Rankings are based on a subjective assessment of student experience in four areas:

  • Holistic development of student-athletes in the institution
  • Academic achievement & support for the academic success of student-athletes
  • Overall college experience for participants within the program
  • Affordability/Graduation Rates/Student Satisfaction

These rankings are meant to highlight programs that may not be widely publicized despite having achieved consistent elite status in competition and in elevating the lives of participating student-athletes. While this is a subjective list, we believe these rankings present an informed starting point for a discussion about where student-athletes can excel as “triple-threat” competitors (academics, athletics, and socially) in college and in their future lives.

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