Forget Duke, forget Stanford, forget Michigan State University: The best place to hoop in college might just be the Culinary Institute of America in New York. Yes, that’s right, the CIA has baking classes, an on-campus restaurant, and apparently serious intercollegiate sports. According to the New York Times, it’s all part of the culinary school’s push to “remake itself into a true four-year college.”

Now, up-and-coming chefs can ball hard while donning a CIA Steels jersey. Yes, the team’s mascot is a steel—a.k.a., a tool that is used to sharpen knives. What else did you really expect from a culinary school? To be fair, “steels” rolls off the tongue a lot easier than “chinois” or “Pacojet” and has a much better logo (above). As for who their opponents are, CIA teams play other schools from the Hudson Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Conference like the Pratt Institute, Cooper Union, and the SUNY College of Environmental Studies and Forestry.



David Whalen, the school’s associate dean for student activities, recreation, and athletics explains the program:

We want to set ourselves apart from other culinary school options; we do have that full-fledged campus life environment… As our education has evolved, our hope is that we’ll advance further with more athletic experiences for our students.”

The college now has five teams: ones for volleyball soccer, cross-country, tennis, and of course, basketball. And unlike other large schools, there are no scholarships—no matter how good you are. Most notably, if you’re required to do a shift at the school’s on-campus restaurant during a game, the shift comes first. The school also enrolls and graduates classes every three weeks, meaning players come and go quickly.

For those students not so keen on sports, the CIA offers classes on brewery operations and management, too, in partnership with Brooklyn Brewery. Set in a glass-walled environment “meant to evoke and old Brooklyn warehouse,” students will also learn how to make beer in the seven-barrel microbrewery. Jealous much?

[via NYT]