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Best Schools for Sports Fanatics


Going to college isn’t just about being well positioned for a high salary after you graduate. Your years in college are also about having fun and cheering on your athletically gifted classmates. Find out which schools have both great post-graduate earning potential and an awesome sports scene.

(Photo Credit: Avinash Kunnath/Flickr)

In PayScale’s recently published 2013-14 College Salary Report, we put together a complete list of “Schools for Sports Fans by Salary Potential”, listing Division I sports colleges in order of highest mid-career salary level. Let’s go over the Top 6.

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1. United States Naval Academy (USNA) at Annapolis ($131,000 mid-career salary)

The Naval Academy has a rich athletic tradition. From Heisman Trophy winner Roger Staubach leading the Midshipman on the gridiron in the 1960s to David Robinson dominating on the basketball court in the 1980s, Navy has been a force in athletics as well as preparing their students to be leaders in the United States military.

More recently, Navy has been strong in football, going to nine bowl games since 2003.

It’s important to note the salaries are for civilian labor force graduates, not active service members.

2. Princeton University ($121,000 mid-career salary)

When you think of Princeton, you probably first think of its academic prowess, with a number graduates becoming of U.S. presidents, Supreme Court justices and business leaders. But Princeton has also made an impact in American sporting culture.

Former basketball coach Pete Carril led the Tigers from 1967 to 1996 and implemented the “Princeton Offense,” which has been adopted by other college and professional teams. Epitomizing Princeton’s exceptional balance of academic and sporting excellence is Bill Bradley, who went on to be Hall of Fame basketball player and then a three-term U.S. Senator.

3. United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point ($120,000 mid-career salary)

The country’s other military comes two spots behind Navy, as Army also has rich sporting past along with preparing young men and woman for a career defending the nation.

Some of the top coaches in American sports history, including football coaches Bill Parcels and Vince Lombardi and basketball coach Bobby Knight, coached at Army early in their careers. The football team was dominant in the 1940s, winning three straight national championships after World War II.

Like Navy, the salaries are for non-service member graduates.

4-tie. Stanford University, Harvard UniversityBrown University ($119,000 mid-career salary)

Stanford is one of the most successful athletic universities in the country, winning 117 national championships. It’s also receiving national attention for its football team this season, which is ranked in the top 5.

Harvard’s academic credentials are well-known, and the university has recently excelled on the basketball court, winning a NCAA Tournament game in 2013.

Brown might not be an athletic powerhouse like Stanford, but the Ivy League school has 37 NCAA Division I sports.

Remember to check out the full list of schools, and see where your college ranks, on the PayScale “Schools for Sports Fans by Salary Potential” report.


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Is a strong athletic program a factor to consider when picking a college? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.


Patrick Creaven
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