Athletics and recreation are an important part of campus life for many students at MIT, and the Institute encourages everyone to participate in some type of athletic activity.
The Institute supports a broad intercollegiate athletic program offering 33 varsity sports. While the Engineers' rowing programs compete at the Division I level, MIT's primary league affiliation lies with the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) as a Division III member of the NCAA. Although crew is the only classified Division I program, water polo, sailing, rifle, track and field, squash, cross country, fencing, and men's volleyball all compete against Division I opponents.
MIT features one of the nation's most expansive club programs, with over 900 participants and 35 teams, a third of which are martial arts clubs. All club teams are led and organized by MIT students and are governed by the student-led Club Sports Council. The Institute places all of its club programs into two categories: instructional and competitive. Instructional clubs offer formal training under the supervision of professional instructors, while competitive clubs compete in regional and national-level tournaments, with many ranking in the nation's top 10. The most successful clubs at MIT include sport taekwondo, women's water polo, women's ultimate frisbee, rugby, and cycling.
The MIT intramural sports program offers competition in 19 sports, with participation of more than 4,000 students and faculty. Ultimate frisbee, soccer, and badminton are among the most competitive and popular activities.
MIT’s athletic complex, with its 10 buildings and 26 acres of playing fields, is one of the most expansive in New England. Steinbrenner Stadium, one of the nation’s finest track and field facilities, contains the recently renovated Roberts Field, which features a new FieldTurf artificial playing surface and lights; the Johnson Athletic Center houses an indoor track and ice rink. Recent enhancements include a new bubble and reconstruction of four indoor courts at the J.B. Carr Tennis Center and the installation of two saunas. The duPont Athletic Center is equipped with a pistol and rifle range, fencing room, wrestling room, squash courts, the Rudovsky Indoor Golf Range, and additional instructional rooms for dance and martial arts. The Zesiger Sports and Fitness Center features two swimming pools, a fitness center, international-scale squash courts, and a multiactivity court. The Stata Center is home to the Alumni Pool and the Wang Fitness Center. MIT’s athletic facilities extend to the Charles River with the Wood Sailing Pavilion and the Pierce Boathouse.