We are the Urban Knights

We are the only higher arts education institution in the U.S. to have an NCAA Division II athletics program—14 varsity athletics teams that represent Academy of Art University in NCAA Division II intercollegiate sports. We are dedicated to distinction, sportsmanship, pride, teamwork, credibility, and creativity. As a student-athlete in the Academy of Art University Intercollegiate Athletic program, you are empowered to realize your full potential academically, personally, and professionally while on the path to collegiate success.

NCAA National Championships
NCAA National Championship Appearances
NCAA All-Americans

Get to Know ART U Athletics

Academy of Art University is one of the unique places in the world where students can find a beautiful balance for their artistic and athletic passions. Our student-athletes have told us that as they gain art and design skills, they become better athletes; and as they improve their athletic abilities, their art is augmented. You can pursue your love of art, and your love of sports, and you can be successful in both.

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The Road to NCAA Division II

The program was officially established in 2006 under former Director of Athletics and Super Bowl champion Jamie Williams. The Urban Knights made their competitive debut on August 29, 2008, and received full NCAA Division II membership on July 12, 2012. Competing specifically within NCAA Division II and the Pacific West Conference, the Urban Knights are made up of 14 collegiate sports teams. The Knights have quickly made a name for themselves with numerous conference and national accomplishments including 10+ NCAA individual championships. We are the first athletics program to win two NCAA National Championships (indoor and outdoor women’s track & field) in its first year of postseason eligibility. We have made over 40 postseason appearances in men’s and women’s cross country, women’s basketball, men’s indoor and outdoor track and field, men’s and women’s golf, softball, and women’s tennis. Go Urban Knights!


A number of Academy of Art’s athletes and staff have participated in professional sports and in the Olympic Games. Here are a few:

Mobolade Ajomale

Following a Bronze medal-winning performance as a member of Canada’s 4×100-meter relay team at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Mobolade Ajomale turned in a stunning performance in the NCAA Division II National Championships and was named DII Track Athlete of the Year. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree at the School of Communications & Media Technologies.

Medal and Award Highlights:

  • 2016 Olympic bronze medalist in the 4x100m relay in Rio de Janeiro
  • Multiple NCAA Division II championships
  • Working on qualifying for the 2020 summer Olympics

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Nate Gercken

Minnesota Twins, Major League Baseball Gercken was selected by the Minnesota Twins in the 17th round with the 500th pick overall in the 2015 Major League Baseball draft. Graduated with a BA in Communications & Media Technologies.

Vashti Thomas

US Olympic Trials Transferred from Texas A&M University to study Illustration at Academy of Art. Qualified for the US Olympic Trials in 2012. Captured a gold medal in the 100-meter hurdles at the 2013 World University Games.

Zach Babitt

Los Angeles Dodgers Selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 10th round of the 2012 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, becoming the first Urban Knight to be drafted in the program’s four years of existence.

Brandon Poulson

Gulf Coast League Twins, Minor League Baseball Poulson was offered a professional sports contract from the Minnesota Twins in 2014. Graduated with a BA in Communications & Media Technologies.

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