Tusculum College has most student athletes in Tennessee

Tusculum College ranked No. 1 for student athletic participation in the state, according to a Tennessee Business Daily analysis of college sports participation.

The U.S. Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education collects athletics data annually from all institutions with intercollegiate athletics programs that receive funding through federal financial aid programs. Data for 2016 – the latest year available – includes more than 2,000 schools nationwide.

The number of Tusculum College students taking part in athletic programs was 548 –  380 men and 168 women – representing the largest contingent of student athletes in Tennessee.

In all, there are 11,133 students – 6,643 men and 4,490 women – playing on athletic teams at 46 colleges and universities in the state.


Colleges with the most student athletes

RankSchoolDivisionTotal UndergraduatesMale Student AthletesFemale Student AthletesTotal Number of Student Athletes
1Tusculum CollegeNCAA Division II with football1,417380168548
2The University of Tennessee-KnoxvilleNCAA Division I-FBS20,719269253522


NCAA Division II with football1,710337151488
4Rhodes CollegeNCAA Division III with football1,974287191478
5Sewanee-The University

of the South

NCAA Division III with football1,713240172412
6Bethel UniversityNAIA Division I3,474282123405
7King UniversityNCAA Division II without football2,119212182394
8University of MemphisNCAA Division I-FBS12,372252138390
9The University of Tennessee-MartinNCAA Division I-FCS4,943206163369
10East Tennessee State UniversityNCAA Division I-FCS9,333236123359
11Middle Tennessee State UniversityNCAA Division I-FBS15,985233121354
12Vanderbilt UniversityNCAA Division I-FBS6,808178165343
13Lincoln Memorial


NCAA Division II without football1,189196146342
14Maryville CollegeNCAA Division III with football1,16623893331
15Bryan College-DaytonNAIA Division II870195133328
16Tennessee Wesleyan UniversityNAIA Division II909185143328
17Cumberland UniversityNAIA Division I1,265191105296
18Austin Peay State UniversityNCAA Division I-FCS6,935183109292
19The University of Tennessee-ChattanoogaNCAA Division I-FCS8,868177107284
20Lipscomb UniversityNCAA Division I without football2,651147136283
21Tennessee Technological UniversityNCAA Division I-FCS8,386174103277
22Tennessee State


NCAA Division I-FCS5,69616393256
23Milligan CollegeNAIA Division II762124130254
24Lee UniversityNCAA Division II without football3,821116129245
25Belmont UniversityNCAA Division I without football5,925118124242
26Christian Brothers UniversityNCAA Division II without football1,33111394207
27Trevecca Nazarene UniversityNCAA Division II without football1,25110595200
28Freed-Hardeman UniversityNAIA Division I1,22711383196
29Martin Methodist CollegeNAIA Division I8739092182
30Union UniversityNCAA Division II without football1,6198694180
31Hiwassee CollegeNCCAA Division I2749665161
32Lane CollegeNCAA Division II with football1,35610139140
33Johnson UniversityNCCAA Division II6898143124
34Walters State Community CollegeNJCAA Division I3,129544498
35Cleveland State Community CollegeNJCAA Division I1,704553287
36Southwest Tennessee Community CollegeNJCAA Division I4,251602686
37Chattanooga State Community CollegeNJCAA Division I4,001383674
38Le Moyne-Owen CollegeNCAA Division II without football847452974
39Motlow State Community CollegeNJCAA Division I3,308413071
40Volunteer State

Community College

NJCAA Division I4,690432871
41Columbia State

Community College

NJCAA Division I2,590442670
42Dyersburg State Community CollegeNJCAA Division I1,237422870
43Jackson State Community CollegeNJCAA Division I2,264373269
44Roane State Community CollegeNJCAA Division I2,506392867
45Fisk UniversityNAIA Division II706232750
46Welch CollegeNCCAA Division II209181836
Source: U.S. Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education

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Organizations in this Story

Belmont University Fisk University Freed-Hardeman University Hiwassee College King University Lee University Middle Tennessee State University Milligan College Motlow State Community College Rhodes College Southwest Tennessee Community College Tennessee State University Tennessee Technological University Trevecca Nazarene University Tusculum College University of Memphis Vanderbilt University

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