Athletics and Popular Extracurriculars at UNC Wilmington

University of North Carolina Wilmington students have many options to get involved in campus life outside of their coursework.

While primarily academic, being in college also means meeting fellow students from different backgrounds and interests. This adds to the college experience through exposure to a more diverse group of people than most students were exposed to during high school.

College athletics and student organizations provide some of the best opportunities for social involvement outside the classroom. For new and returning University of North Carolina Wilmington students interested in learning more about UNCW sports, social organizations, and clubs on campus, check out our overview below of athletics and popular extracurriculars at UNC Wilmington.

What sport is UNC Wilmington known for?

Men’s basketball is the most popular sport at UNC Wilmington.

In the 2021-2022 season, the UNCW men’s basketball team was the runner-up in their conference championship, losing to the University of Delaware 59-55. The team has historically done very well in their conference, including a conference championship in 2017 that gave the Seahawks a bid to the NCAA tournament.

Since UNC Wilmington doesn’t have a football program, other sports have become popular among students, especially during the fall semester. The men’s soccer program is currently ranked second in their conference, and the team earned a spot in their NCAA Tournament in 2018. Another popular spring sport is the baseball team, who also earned berths in the NCAA Tournament in 2012, 203, 2015, 2016, 2018, and 2019.

The complete list of men’s athletic programs at the University of North Carolina Wilmington includes the following:

  1. Baseball
  2. Basketball
  3. Cross Country
  4. Golf
  5. Soccer
  6. Swimming & Diving
  7. Tennis
  8. Track & Field

While the list of women’s athletic programs at UNCW is:

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

Is UNC Wilmington a Division 1 school?

Yes, the University of North Carolina Wilmington is a Division I athletics program through the NCAA.

However, it is a non-football member of Division I and does not participate in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). UNC Wilmington is a Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) member, which it joined in 1984. The CAA comprises 13 colleges and universities in the mid-Atlantic and northeastern states.

The schools currently represented in the Colonial Athletic Association include:

  1. College of Charleston
  2. College of William & Mary
  3. Drexel University
  4. Elon University
  5. Hampton University
  6. Hofstra University
  7. Monmouth University
  8. North Carolina A&T State University
  9. Northeastern University
  10. Towson University
  11. University of Delaware
  12. University of North Carolina Wilmington
  13. Stony Brook University

In 2023 the CAA will grow to 14 schools with the addition of Campbell University in Buies Creek, North Carolina. These CAA schools make up most of the schedule for UNCW athletics, given the focus on inter-association games within the conference.

Who is UNC Wilmington’s biggest rival?

The biggest rivals in men’s basketball at UNCW Wilmington are the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers and the East Carolina Pirates.

Although neither of these schools is in the CAA conference with UNCW, both schools are geographically close to Wilmington. In their current 2022-2023 season, the UNCW Seahawks beat both teams in men’s basketball, besting Coastal Carolina 60-58 in their game on November 30th and beating East Carolina 74-61 the following week on December 6th.

How many clubs are there at UNC Wilmington?

There are more than 300 student clubs and organizations at UNC Wilmington.

The Involvement Center is the hub for student organizations on campus. Located inside the Fisher Student Center, the Involvement Center offers space for student groups to meet and resources to foster ongoing student participation and collaboration among clubs.

To access the resources available within the Involvement Center, clubs must be recognized as Registered Student Organizations (RSO) but the university. There is an application process to become an RSO, although many options already exist for students looking to get involved in a club on campus.

RSOs are separated into one of the following 12 categories by the Involvement Center:

  1. Academic, Honorary, and Professional
  2. Fraternity & Sorority Life
  3. Engagement Council
  4. Graduate Student Organizations
  5. Media
  6. Diversity & Inclusion
  7. Performing & Visual Arts
  8. Politics & Activism
  9. Religious
  10. Service
  11. Special Interest
  12. Sports & Recreation

Organizations in the sports & recreation category are managed by the UNCW Sports Club Council (SCC), which oversees 29 different club sports on campus.

The most popular clubs at UNC Wilmington are academic organizations focused on professional development within a student’s major or chosen career path and special interest groups.

While not always the most numerous in members, these categories of clubs have the most options available to students, with over 50 clubs registered as special interests and 28 as academic or professional groups.

Special interest groups on campus range from academic-focused clubs like debate, mathematics & statistics, mock trial, and anthropology to social justice-focused clubs like the wildlife society, LGBTQIA alliance, and geosciences club. Greek organizations are also numerous, although not as popular as some North Carolina state universities.

You can learn more about Greek life at UNCW by checking out our past posts on fraternity and sorority life.

Start your year off right at UNC Wilmington

UNCW students of all backgrounds and interests can set themselves up for success by finding the right place to call home when they’re not on campus, and there’s no better off-campus option for UNCW students than Seahawk Retreat.

Seahawk Retreat offers one, two, and three-bedroom apartments. Nowhere else in Wilmington will you find the array of lease term options available at Seahawk Retreat!

The community offers residents two outdoor pools, a 24-hour fitness center, study rooms, a resident lounge, a dog park, and onsite management & maintenance team.

Residents of Seahawk Retreat are within walking or biking distance of the north side of the UNC Wilmington campus and nearby retail and restaurant areas along College Road.

For information on availability, roommate matching, and pricing, contact the team at Seahawk Retreat today at (844) 505-9359!