Athletics and Popular Extracurriculars at San Diego State University

San Diego State University draws students from all over the United States and the world to its picturesque campus east of downtown San Diego.

With its diverse students comes an array of social opportunities to meet new people, interact with fellow students with different backgrounds and interests, and truly embrace the college experience.

College athletics and student organizations provide some of the best opportunities for social involvement outside the classroom.

For new and returning San Diego State University students interested in learning more about SDSU sports, social organizations, and clubs on campus, check out our overview below of athletics and popular extracurriculars at San Diego State.

What sport is San Diego State University known for?

The men’s football and basketball programs are San Diego State University’s most popular sports.

The Aztec men’s basketball teams were conference champions in 2021. They most recently appeared in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) March Madness tournament in 2021 and 2022, making them a competitor in the national collegiate basketball scene. The SDSU football team isn’t as known nationally, but the team has played in several recent bowl games, including the 2019 New Mexico Bowl and 2021 Frisco Bowl.

SDSU offers 17 intercollegiate sports between its men’s and women’s programs.

The men’s athletic programs at San Diego State University include:

  1. Basketball
  2. Baseball
  3. Football
  4. Golf
  5. Soccer
  6. Tennis

The offerings for female athletes at SDSU are more numerous and include the following:

  1. Basketball
  2. Cross Country
  3. Golf
  4. Lacrosse
  5. Soccer
  6. Softball
  7. Swimming & Diving
  8. Tennis
  9. Track & Field
  10. Volleyball
  11. Water Polo

All of SDSU’s athletic programs are sponsored by the NCAA, but some compete in different conferences based on the popularity of the sports at other conference schools.

Is San Diego State a Division 1 school?

Yes, the San Diego State University Aztecs are a Division I athletics program through the NCAA and a participating member of the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) for football.

SDSU is a member of the Mountain West Conference, which encompasses 12 schools in the western United States, although some sports have their conferences. For example, the SDSU men’s soccer team is part of the Pac-12 conference.

The schools in the Mountain West conference account for most of the Aztecs’ opponents in regular-season competitions.

The 12 members of the Mountain West conference are:

  1. Air Force Academy
  2. Boise State University
  3. Colorado State University
  4. Fresno State University
  5. University of Hawai’i (Football)
  6. University of Nevada, Reno
  7. New Mexico
  8. San Diego State University
  9. San Jose State University
  10. University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  11. Utah State University
  12. University of Wyoming

Who is SDSU’s biggest rival?

San Diego State University’s biggest rivalry is in football with the Fresno State Bulldogs.

Their rivalry dates back to 1923, when the two teams first met in competition, and has evolved to a modern competition that culminates with an annual winner of the Old Oil Can trophy.

Across their 61 games, San Diego State leads with 30 wins to Fresno State’s 27, with an additional four games ending in a tie. Fresno State has won the last two match-ups in 2021 and 2022.

How many clubs are there at San Diego State?

There are more than 150 official student clubs and organizations at San Diego State University.

Starting and maintaining a Recognized Student Organization (RSO) is much more formal at SDSU than at other schools, as the process is governed through an executive order of the California State University system. Each student organization has to submit an RSO application annually to maintain its status as a recognized group on campus.

Although this process places an administrative burden on student clubs, it also ensures that only active clubs with engaged members remain part of the campus culture.

Student clubs at SDSU are managed by the Office of Student Life & Leadership, which oversees Greek life on campus. The Student Life & Leadership team categorizes all student groups into one of 12 categories for ease in maintaining active lists of RSOs at SDSU and marketing the options available to new and incoming students.

The categories of student clubs at San Diego State are:

  1. Academic
  2. Cultural
  3. Honor Society
  4. Leadership
  5. Political
  6. Recreational
  7. Religious
  8. Residence Hall
  9. Service & Support
  10. Social Fraternity
  11. Social Sorority
  12. Greek Auxiliary Board

Click here to see a list of the RSOs on-campus for the 2022-2023 school year.

Since the student organizations at San Diego State are audited yearly, each club tends to remain active on campus.

Club sports like the Pickleball Association and Disc Golf Club are popular at SDSU, as are student government and many academic-focused student groups. Academic clubs are the most numerous on campus. Still, because they are specific to a student’s major or professional interests, it is not common for a student to be in multiple academic groups.

Greek life is also trendy at San Diego State University, with over 1,100 fraternity members and 1,900 sorority members among undergraduate students.

Check out our past posts about SDSU fraternity and sorority life for more information about the Greek scene at SDSU.

Start your year off right at San Diego State University

A unifying factor among all students, regardless of their athletic, academic, and extracurricular interests, is the need for housing.

And for SDSU students looking for an off-campus apartment close to campus, there’s no better option than Iconic on Alvarado.

Iconic on Alvarado is a student housing midrise community located just a few blocks from the northern edge of the San Diego State University campus at 6625 Alvarado Rd. Iconic on Alvarado offers fully-furnished studio, two, and four-bedroom apartments designed explicitly for SDSU students. Iconic on Alvarado offers residents two resort-style pools, an onsite 24-hour fitness center, study rooms, a computer lounge, and onsite management & maintenance team.

Residents of Iconic on Alvarado have easy access to campus by bike or driving just a few blocks west on Alvarado Road and have the best balance of on and off-campus life due to the proximity to the SDSU campus.

For information on availability, roommate matching, and pricing, contact the team at Iconic on Alvarado today at (619) 286-3990!