University networks are unique in that they typically offer students a very speedy connection to the web that can’t be had elsewhere but even these networks are struggling with the same issues facing traditional ISPs: piracy. To highlight the behavior, TorrentFreak has put together a collection of the top 50 universities ranked by BitTorrent usage.

In what is a surprise to pretty much nobody, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology ranked first place overall followed by Rutgers and New York University. Rounding out the top 10 is the University of Houston, Texas A&M University, University of Illinois, Northeastern University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Columbia University and Michigan State University.

It’s troublesome for the schools involved as, unlike the run-of-the-mill ISP, the US government requires colleges and universities to do everything in their power to curb the illicit behavior. New legislation passed in 2010 puts schools at risk of losing federal funding if it’s deemed they aren’t doing enough to stop illegal file sharing on campus.

Most institutions of higher learning responded by implementing new campus rules with some going as far as to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to install anti-sharing systems on their networks. The varying efforts have had some level of success but the problem hasn’t been eliminated completely by any stretch of the imagination.

TorrentFreak partnered with BitTorrent monitoring outfit Scaneye to look at the IP addresses that are sharing files on BitTorrent, recording every instance as a “hit.” Several samples of content being downloaded were taken with the majority clearly being infringing material, the publication said.