The University of Massachusetts Amherst is the state's flagship institution, educating over 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students per year. After changing mascots a few times (including Aggies and Statesmen), the school landed on Sam the Minuteman in 1972, making them the only school in the US with the Minuteman mascot. Athletically, they're most known for the Men's Final Four run in 1996, however their men's hockey team most recently rose to prominence in 2019, reaching the Frozen Four for the first team in program history.

Julius Erving, "Dr. J", played basketball for UMass for a couple of years, and Marcus Camby, Briana Scurry and Victor Cruz also spent their college years in Amherst.