Through its long history, the Athletic Department has emphasized what it can do for students, not what students can do for the University. This explains the absence of athletic scholarships, which might have "bought" athletic fame. At Greenville the athlete is a student, and many students turn out to be fine athletes.

Intercollegiate participation is available in eight sports for men: baseball, basketball, cross-country, fishing, football, soccer, tennis, and track; and in eight sports for women: basketball, cross-country, fishing, soccer, softball, track, tennis, and volleyball. The University belongs to the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA), Division Three, the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) and the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA). All players must meet eligibility and physical examination requirements.

In addition to an intercollegiate athletic program, Greenville University provides a strong intramural program. The specific activities provided annually are determined by interest of the current student body. In general, sports such as basketball, flag football, indoor soccer, and volleyball have proved to be popular for the recreational athlete on campus. Also available is the Greenville University Fitness Center. This facility has an aerobics room, exercise and weight training equipment, and a lap pool.