University of Arkansas has most student athletes in state

University of Arkansas ranked No. 1 for student athletic participation in the state, according to an Arkansas 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 University of Arkansas students taking part in athletic programs was 472 –  251 men and 221 women – representing the largest contingent of student athletes in Arkansas.

In all, there are 5,835 students – 3,785 men and 2,050 women – playing on athletic teams at 24 colleges and universities in the state.


Colleges with the most student athletes

RankSchoolDivisionTotal UndergraduatesMale Student AthletesFemale Student AthletesTotal Number of Student Athletes
1University of ArkansasNCAA Division I-FBS19,774251221472
2Harding UniversityNCAA Division II with football4,143284137421
3Hendrix CollegeNCAA Division III with football1,311262152414
4Henderson State


NCAA Division II with football2,790275108383
5University of Central ArkansasNCAA Division I-FCS7,956223146369
6Ouachita Baptist UniversityNCAA Division II with football1,461256111367
7Arkansas State University-Main CampusNCAA Division I-FBS7,248214123337
8Arkansas Tech UniversityNCAA Division II with football6,77322690316
9Lyon CollegeNAIA Division I67821988307
10Southern Arkansas University Main CampusNCAA Division II with football2,81621291303
11University of Arkansas at Pine BluffNCAA Division I-FCS2,50217987266
12University of the OzarksNCAA Division III without football66715689245
13University of Arkansas at MonticelloNCAA Division II with football2,16217857235
14Williams Baptist CollegeNAIA Division I42313691227
15University of Arkansas at Little RockNCAA Division I without football4,42486115201
16Arkansas Baptist CollegeNJCAA Division II75314629175
17Central Baptist CollegeNAIA Division I6319963162
18John Brown UniversityNAIA Division I1,5216367130
19University of Arkansas-

Fort Smith

NCAA Division II without football4,2357647123
20Ecclesia CollegeNCCAA Division I2339229121
21Crowley's Ridge CollegeNAIA Division I1927545120
22North Arkansas CollegeNJCAA Division II1,020452469
23Philander Smith CollegeNAIA Division I725192342
24Arkansas State University Mid-SouthNJCAA Division II488131730
Source: U.S. Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education

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