University Park, Pa. — The Sporting News has released its 2006 list of the 99 best sports cities in the United States, and State College, Pa., home to Penn State\’s University Park campus, is rated No. 7 among cities that do not have a professional sports franchise.
State College is the top ranked college town in the Big Ten Conference, is ranked No. 56 overall and is one of only three Pennsylvania cities to make the list, along with Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. The only other college towns ranked ahead of State College are: Austin (18), Gainesville (32), Morgantown (38), Baton Rouge (44), South Bend (54) and Tuscaloosa (55).
Penn State has one of the nation\’s most comprehensive and successful athletic programs, offering 29 varsity sports, 15 men\’s and 14 women\’s. During the 2005-06 academic year, a school record six Nittany Lion teams won Big Ten Championships, bringing Penn State\’s total to 47 conference titles in 13 years as a full member of the Big Ten. During the 2005 fall season, a Big Ten-record five teams won conference titles, compiling an incredible 49-1 record during regular season Big Ten competition. All five teams finished in their respective Top 10 national rankings.
Penn State finished No. 15 in the 2005-06 NACDA Directors\’ Cup standings. Penn State has placed in the Top 20 12 times in the 13 years of the Directors\’ Cup, finishing in Top 25 all 13 years. The Nittany Lions have earned seven Top 10 finishes.
Also during 2005-06, Penn State hosted three NCAA Championship events that drew fans to State College from across the nation. In 2006-07, Penn State and State College will host several PIAA, Big Ten and NCAA championship events, including the Big Ten Women\’s Soccer Tournament (Nov. 3-5), the PIAA Boys and Girls Basketball Championships (March 23-24) and the NCAA Men\’s Gymnastics Championships (April 12-14).
Penn State has one of the nation\’s premier collection of athletic facilities, including the 107,282-seat Beaver Stadium, the Bryce Jordan Center, the recently renovated Rec Hall and Jeffrey Field, the world-class Multi-Sport Indoor Track and Field Complex, the Sarni Tennis Center and McCoy Natatorium.
In June, the magnificent Medlar Field at Lubrano Park opened to rave reviews. The facility is the home to the Nittany Lion baseball team and the State College Spikes, a Class A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals. The ballpark represents a unique partnership between Penn State, which owns the ballpark, and Curve Baseball LP, the owners of the Spikes and Altoona Curve, who operate the ballpark.