Athletics and Recreation

Athletics & Recreation provides a variety of interesting programs, activities, and developmental opportunities in which all students from any background or skill level are invited to participate. The department strives to develop skills and habits related to fitness and wellness that last a lifetime for students to enjoy athletic and recreational activity.

You can obtain further information about the programs described below from Athletics and Recreation located at the East Field House, (831) 459-2531. Visit the Athletics & Recreation websites at or

Athletics and Recreation Courses

Athletics and Recreation offers students an opportunity to learn and improve skills in a variety of areas while gaining knowledge about the relationship between fitness and wellness. With these experiences, students are more equipped to make important choices leading to healthy lifestyles.

Regularly scheduled courses, which carry no academic credit but are recorded on your transcript, are available in a broad range of physical activities (see Athletics and Recreation). Many classes are small, and all offer expert instruction and welcoming environments. While many of the courses are for students at the beginning level, some are designed for the more advanced student.

Subjects offered include swimming, scuba, sailing, rowing, kayaking, basketball, tennis, volleyball, ballet, jazz dance, modern dance, fencing, soccer, strength training, yoga, aikido, and more. See the Athletics and Recreation  website for more information.

Intramural Sports

Intramural Sports offers a wide variety of traditional and niche recreational sports opportunities designed to encourage participation for all enrolled students  to play together on campus. The program prides itself on sportsmanship, inclusion, community, and fun.

Intramural Sports are structured for all skill levels and are conducted in a safe, supervised environment. You do not need to be an experienced athlete to play! Intramural Sports are open to all UC Santa Cruz students and staff/faculty with current memberships. Intramural Sports are a fun way to play, meet friends, learn new sports, and relieve the stress of daily routines. Most activities allow you to select the days and times you play, as well as the people on your team. Check out the Intramural Sports website to learn how and when to register.

Sport Clubs

UC Santa Cruz Sport Clubs are student-driven and student-managed organizations that strive for skill building in leadership, problem-solving, collaboration, and financial management. These organizations participate in a variety of active-lifestyle activities that compete with other university club organizations. Sport Clubs also hosts recreational clubs for those less inclined for competition. Please visit the Sport Clubs website to see learn more about Sport Clubs at UC Santa Cruz.

Intercollegiate Athletics

UC Santa Cruz offers the only National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III program in the University of California system. As a Division III member, the program offers no scholarships or grants in aid that are based on athletic ability. UC Santa Cruz sponsors the following intercollegiate sports: men's and women's basketball, soccer, swimming and diving, tennis, volleyball, cross country, track, and women’s golf. For schedules, rosters, and more information on Athletics at UC Santa Cruz please visit

Adventure Rec

The Adventure Rec program within the Athletics & Recreation department is designed to provide the UC Santa Cruz community with an opportunity to develop skills, have fun, be challenged, and make healthy social connections through outdoor, recreational, and hands-on learning experiences. Adventure Rec offers a wide range of programs that provide opportunities for beginners as well as more experienced participants. Students can expect well-organized activities as well as informal experiential learning led by Adventure Rec UC Santa Cruz professional staff and student leaders. Much like the rest of the Athletics & Recreation department, student leaders make up the foundation of the Adventure Rec, bringing experience and enthusiasm to all that participate.

Athletics & Recreation also offers  outdoor equipment rental. From surfboards to wetsuits, tents to sleeping bags, UC Santa Cruz has all the high-quality backpacking and camping gear a student could need. Students interested in planning their own outings should contact the Adventure Rec staff for assistance or sign up for one of the available adventure preparation program offerings. Adventure Rec also offers a free, weekly drop-in bicycle maintenance program. Please visit the Adventure Rec website for more information.

Sammy Slug

The Banana Slug, a bright yellow, indigenous gastropod found in the redwood forest on campus and around Santa Cruz County, has not always been the official mascot for UC Santa Cruz. In fact, the University didn’t initially have formal, organized, and campus-supported athletics for enrolled students when founded in 1965. By 1980, students had made it clear there was a sincere desire for more organized and University-supported participation in intercollegiate competition. That is when UC Santa Cruz became an institutional member within DIII of the NCAA.

Institutional membership with the NCAA requires an official team name, yet for the first 15 years of its existence, the University did not have one. Chancellor Robert L. Sinsheimer gathered a focus of student-athletes and from that, made a decision to name the University’s new mascot: the Sea Lions. The new name was soon challenged by a grassroots effort by students on campus, which led to publicity in local and national media as more UC Santa Cruz students campaigned to officially become the Banana Slugs. Even after a Sea Lion was painted on the West Field House hardwood, students continued to cheer and chant for the Banana Slugs. Bronze statues of sea lions in the heart of campus were vandalized with yellow paint and antenna glued to the top of the sea lion heads to transform them into Banana Slugs. After years of relentless effort and stalemate a student-led, campus referendum was organized in 1986 to decide the UC Santa Cruz mascot once and for all. The vote was overwhelmingly in favor of the Banana Slugs and the rest is history.

Be on the look out this fall to participate in the #EvolveSammy campaign and help campus decide how Sammy Slug evolves into the next era!


UC Santa Cruz Athletics & Recreation hosts a variety of facility spaces for students, faculty/staff, and community to participate in athletic and recreational activities. The East Field House (EFH) complex is one of the most popular areas of campus with over half of the student population visiting the complex at least once during the year. There you will find our 50m pool, six tennis courts, multiple dance studios, indoor and outdoor basketball courts, two sand courts, nine acres of recreational field space, an outdoor strength-training and cardiovascular-fitness installation, a ½ mile jogging path, one natural grass competition surface, and a 6,500 square foot fitness center complete with cardio and strength training equipment as well as incredible vistas of the Monterey Bay. The EFH complex is also home to our personal training and group fitness classes offered by the Athletics & Recreation FitLife program. More information is available on the FitLife website. More information is available on the FitLife website.

The West Field House is home to our basketball and volleyball teams and is a great place to enjoy the Banana Slugs compete against Coast to Coast Athletic Conference members or other NCAA DIII opponents. There are also 6 tennis courts, 2 sand courts, outdoor basketball, and a smaller recreational field space for students to enjoy within the Rachel Carson College area of campus.

UC Santa Cruz Athletics & Recreation also leases additional facility spaces for students in Santa Cruz, including Kaiser Permanente Arena downtown for select basketball and volleyball games (visit for game schedules) and the Santa Cruz Harbor. The UC Santa Cruz Community Boating Center is located on FF Dock at the Santa Cruz Small Craft Harbor. Our Boating Center is home to Physical Education courses, a community boating club, and our competitive Sailing Club which operates as a Sport Clubs student organization. Summer sailing courses are also available for those interested. Boating courses are offered for dinghies, 24'–32' keel boats, sea kayaks, and rowing shells. Please visit the Boating Center website for more information.