Unusual College Sports

We’re all well aware of our own school’s big sports teams.

There’s a good chance you’ve cheered on the basketball team as they nailed 3-pointer after 3-pointer. You’ve probably attended a football tailgate at your own school or watched another team’s big Bowl game on television. You might have even watched the swim team glide through the water during a big meet. But what about the lesser known teams on campus? We bet you’ve never painted your face in honor of a Broomball game!

To get you up to speed on some unique college sports, we pulled together a list of our favorites. Ready to join yet?


How it Started: The sport, “Muggle Quidditch” (as it is officially called), was started at Middlebury College in 2005 by two Harry Potter super fans. Their plan was to bring the fictional game from the books and movies into our muggle world of reality – and it worked! As of 2014, the sport has grown to include several collegiate and community teams across the US and around the world that compete in the USQ World Cup and the European Quidditch Cup.

How it’s Played: Two teams of seven compete with their brooms between their legs. Just like in the magical version of the sport, their aim is to the throw the ball into one of three circular hoops guarded by their opponent. There are three types of balls in the game: “the snitch” (tennis ball), “the bludger” (dodgeball), and “the quaffle” (slightly deflated volleyball). The game involves a lot of high-energy running, throwing, passing, and tackling and is incredibly fun once you get the hang of it. Check out the official rules here.

Top ranked College Quiddich Teams:

1. Emerson College

2. Texas State University – San Marcos

3. University of California, Los Angeles


Underwater Hockey (Octopush)

How it Started: Underwater Hockey (originally named “Octopush”) originated in the UK in 1954. An underwater diving club wanted to create a fun game that would entice their members to remain at the pool during the winter, rather than heading south for better scuba diving. Over the past half-century, the sport has become popular around the globe, though you can only find it at about a dozen colleges and universities as a club sport.

How it’s Played: Two teams of 8 (hence “Octopush”) spend the duration of the game at the bottom of a large swimming pool. They play “hockey” with a lead puck that they move toward each goal with a small stick named the “pusher”. Players can come up for air when necessary, but most end up holding their breath for long periods of time. In order to participate, it’s crucial that players are proficient swimmers!

Top Ranked College Pushers:

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

2. University of Florida

3. George Mason University



How it Started: The history of Broomball is shrouded in *~mystery~*, though most people believe it originated in Canada. The first record of a Broomball game indicated that it took place on a football field during the late 1800’s and spread to the United States around the turn of the century. In the US, the game is most popular in Minnesota.

How it’s Played: Today, Broomball is played on an ice rink and is similar in style to regular ice hockey, though it incorporates some soccer strategies. Teams of five go toe-to-toe in the hopes of scoring goals using their broom (hence, broom-ball). Today, their brooms have been modernized with plastic heads, similar to a normal broom you’d use for cleaning. It is a popular intramural sport played on college campuses in nearly all 50 states! Talk about a sweep!

Pun intended.

Top Ranked Broomball-ers:

1. Carleton College – Northfield

2. University of Chicago

3. Boston University


Disc Golf (Frolf)

How it Started: The first game took place all the way back in 1926. Canadian elementary school students created a game that involved throwing tin plates at targets like trees and fence posts. After the 1960s, the game had developed elsewhere in North America and had national tournaments with a national association and a professional association for the sport.

How it’s Played: Much like in regular golf, players must tee aim discs at cage targets and object targets with great accuracy in order to move on to the next. The point of the game is to get to the last target with the least number of discs thrown overall.

Top Ranked Disc-Golfers:

1. Ferris State University

2. Colorado State University

3. University of Nevada, Reno

disc golf

Written by Guest Blogger, Dan H. of Emerson College


What strange sports are played on your college campus? Are you a Quiddich-loving muggle or a swimmer with a penchant for underwater hockey? Share your sport of choice with us on Instagram and Twitter @BNCollege.


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