Though Santa Clara is a Division I school, sports aren't very central to campus life. Most students come out for the big sporting events (like men's basketball versus Gonzaga University), but most other games attract only a small percentage of the student body. While few students regularly attend sporting events, many belong to Ruff Riders, the student-run sports booster club. To increase school spirit and attract more students to games, Ruff Riders offer members free entry to all games and events like raffle drawings and pre-game barbecues.
While the athletic program isn't huge on campus, most students are very physically active. In tune with its mission to educate the "mind, body, and spirit," Santa Clara provides tons of ways for students to get involved athletically. Intramural and club sports are popular for students who don't want the stress of playing on Division I teams, and "Lifetime Rec" classes, such as yoga or kickboxing, are pretty well attended, too. The athletic facilities are generally clean and up-to-date, though some are nicer than others. The student gym isn't much to brag about, but the pool was recently renovated, and most students agree that the athletic facilities on campus fit the needs of both athletes and non-athletes alike.