No sport has more schools participating in it than basketball, but the second-most common sport in college athletics might surprise some people — cross country.
Between men’s and women’s basketball teams at all levels, there are 2,197 basketball teams, the most of any sport at NCAA colleges and universities. Cross country, thanks to being a sport that doesn’t require a stadium or arena, has small teams, uses minimal equipment, and can be played by both men and women, is a close second with 2,065 NCAA teams.
At the other end of the spectrum, of the official NCAA sports for which data was provided, the three least-common sports are gymnastics (99 combined men’s and women’s teams), bowling (68 women’s teams), and sand volleyball (56 women’s teams).
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