The University of Oklahoma Sooners (often referred to as Oklahoma or OU) features 19 varsity sports teams. Both men’s and women’s teams are called the “Sooners”, a nickname given to the early participants in the Land Rush of 1889, which initially opened the Unassigned Lands in the future state of Oklahoma to non-native settlement. The university’s athletic teams compete in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)’s Division I, in the Big 12 Conference. The university’s current athletic director is Joe Castiglione.
In 2002, the University of Oklahoma was ranked as the third best college sports program in America by Sports Illustrated.
When combined with Blake Griffin’s John Wooden Award and Sam Bradford’s Heisman Trophy, Oklahoma became the second school to have a top winner in both basketball and football in the same year (Gary Beban won the Heisman Trophy and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar won the USBWA “Player of the Year” award in 1968 for UCLA).