Do Art Colleges Have Sports? (Art School & Athletics)

Are you into painting, drawing, sculpting, and creating art? Then chances are that you have considered attending an art college. You may have career goals that require a degree in architecture, digital media, art history, or art design, but what if you are also interested in playing college sports? Do art colleges have sports?

Many colleges specific to the arts do not offer athletics. Two that do, however, are the Savannah College of Art and Design and the Academy of Art University. Also, there are many other universities with top ranked arts programs that offer various Division I sports, such as Yale and UCLA.

Even if you education goals are art based, sports are a great way to bond and make friends with other students. Players can create connections that last a lifetime. While playing sports at an art college, you can also explore your passion for art. Read on to learn everything you need to know about sports programs in art colleges.

Do art colleges have sports?

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Which Art College Should You Attend if You Want to Play Sports?

It is possible to play college sports, while earning an art degree. However, keep in mind that art colleges typically do not have a grandiose focus on athletics. So, if you want to play Division 1 football, you will have trouble finding an art school with that focus.

There are two arts focused colleges that do have athletic programs. They are the Savannah College of Art and Design and the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. The following table shows the sports programs offered at these two schools.

CollegeLocation(s)Sports OfferedDivision
Savannah College of Art and DesignSavannah & Atlanta, GA; Lacoste, FranceSavannah: Men’s & women’s bowling, cross country, cycling, equestrian, golf, lacrosse, soccer, swimming, tennis, track & field.
Atlanta: Men’s & women’s bowling, cross country, cycling, golf, tennis, track & field.
Savannah: Division I; Atlanta: Division II
Academy of Art UniversitySan Francisco, CAMen’s & women’s basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, track & field; men’s baseball; women’s softball, volleyball, tennis.Division II

Although they have a good range of sporting options, these two colleges may not offer the particular sport you are interested in playing. Art schools are primarily for individuals whose main focus is studying art, advancing as artists, and gaining traction in the field of art.

However, if you are looking for a college that offers both a good arts program, and a full-range of athletics programs, a regular university ranked high in the arts might be your best option.

Some of the best colleges for art are not simply art schools, but universities that offer other academics programs as well, such as UCLA and Yale. Let’s look at some of the best colleges for art and see what they have to offer in the area of sports. Here are a few colleges that have some of the best sports programs, as well as the top arts programs in the U.S.

CollegeLocation(s)Sports OfferedDivision
Pratt InstituteBrooklyn, NYMen’s & women’s basketball, cross country, indoor/outdoor track, soccer, tennis, volleyball.Division III
Yale UniversityNew Haven, CTMen’s & women’s basketball, cross country, fencing, golf, ice hockey, lacrosse, soccer, squash, swimming & diving, tennis, track & field; men’s crew (light and heavyweight), football; women’s field hockey, gymnastics, rowing, sailing, softball, volleyball; coed sailing.Division I
University of California Los AngelesLos Angeles, CAMen’s & women’s basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, swimming & diving, tennis, track & field, volleyball, water polo; men’s baseball, football; women’s beach volleyball, gymnastics, rowing, softball.Division I

Check the school’s webpage for the most up-to-date information on the sports they offer. If they do not have your sport, you should still be able to find a local league on which to play.

How important are grades when looking at an art school? Find out in my article: Do Art Schools Care About Grades? (What You Need To Know)

Why Choose an Art College with Sports Programs?

Suppose you are deciding between an art school that has sports and one that does not. If you are passionate about both art and sports, choosing a college that provides both will help give you a well-rounded experience – fortunately, there are more options out there than you might think.

It can be difficult to focus on both an arts degree and college level sports, though. If you do choose to pursue both, it is important to maintain a balance so that one does not get in the way of the other. While there are numerous benefits to collegiate sports programs, they do require a lot of time and effort – much like obtaining a degree.

The Academy of Art University is one of only two dedicated art schools significant sports program.

Many art colleges that do not offer sports still provide athletic opportunities for students. Intramural activities, local sports leagues and teams, and clubs are alternative options for students with a passion for both arts and athletics that choose to attend a school where intercollegiate sports teams are not available.

What If an Art College Does Not Have Sports?

If the art college you really have your sights on attending does not have a sports program, do not fret! You still have many ways to fulfill your desire to play sports. You will not be playing for a college team, but you can still get all the amazing health and social benefits that sports offer. Here are some of the best non-college sport choices:

  • Find a local sports league: Look online and at the local recreation club for league information.
  • Attend an “open gym” day at another local college: When you attend an open gym, you can play with others and learn of other sports opportunities.
  • Join a local health/recreation club: Many larger health clubs have sports courts/fields and sometimes schedule games you can participate in.
  • Start a group through social media: You can create an ad on social media to pull people together and form your own league.
  • Hang out at a local court/field/etc. and join pickup games: You will get to know people, and you may even meet other art college students.

Finding other people to play sports with you should not be too difficult. Many people routinely play sports, and chances are that you will be able to find a league or team that will let you join in a game.

What is More Important, Art or Sports?

If you are finding yourself desperately searching for art colleges that also offer great sports programs, you might find yourself growing frustrated. Do you attend the best art college in the country, or do you attend a college with a great sports program that also has a fantastic art department?

You have to ask yourself what is most important to you. If you imagine where you want yourself to be in five or 10 years, perhaps this could help you decide. Have you always felt the pull towards art and creativity? After college, do you see yourself teaching art or producing art for the world? If so, attending art school should be your main focus.

Strength and conditioning for sports at the Academy of Art University

Maybe after college, you see yourself in the minor or even major leagues. If becoming an athlete is the career path you desire, put effort into enrolling in a university with a better sports program. You can always take art classes, even if the college is not solely for art.

Finding the best art college or university is tough, so take some time to weigh your options. Additionally, spend plenty of time looking up all possible art colleges and universities you could attend and apply to all of your top choices. Having many options available will help you to make the best decision.


If you want to attend an art college and play sports, you will find that some art colleges have sports programs and some do not. If you do find an art college with athletics programs, those programs will probably not be very large or strong. However, if your main focus is art and you just want to play sports casually, this could work for you.

For those that are more focused on sports and are great athletes, it may be best to look for non-art colleges that have strong athletics programs. Many colleges feature sports programs while also boasting impressive arts departments.

Whatever path you decide to take, there will be plenty of advantages to fostering both your creative and your athletic side. This will make you well-rounded and altogether more interesting.

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