Willamette is a Division III school that has strong athletics, but it places a priority on academics. Most student athletes at Willamette were good athletes in high school, but some simply walk onto a team while in college. Despite being Division III, playing sports at Willamette is a major time commitment. Between practices, games, team meetings, and required workout times, athletes will find little time to do much else other than go to class. Athletes will mostly be friends with other athletes because that is with whom they spend time. While there is a small group of hardcore fans that will attend most sporting events, the overall student attendance at athletic events is relatively low. While varsity sports don’t attract many students, intramural sports are very popular. Most Willamette students will participate in at least one intramural in a bid to win the coveted "I Win" championship shirts. One could easily argue that the "I Win" shirts earn more respect than a varsity sweatshirt.
Another popular outlet for athletics is the club sports teams, which are semi-competitive, competing against other area colleges. Club sports are a great option for students who want to compete in more competitive sports but don’t want to make the time commitment needed for varsity sports. Popular club sports include men’s and women’s rugby, soccer, and ultimate Frisbee.