Athletes and Cadets

Discussion in 'Publicly and Privately Funded Military Colleges' started by Curyea, Mar 26, 2016.

  1. Curyea

    Curyea New Member

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    Out of curiosity, are athletes treated any differently than cadets at places like VMI or The Citadel? Do they keep themselves apart, do they miss any regular workout activities b/c of practice, is there any resentment towards them, that sort of thing?
    Just wondering b/c of something that was said on our visit. Not a big deal, but it made me curious....which of course made me look things up and I came across that old Rick Reilly article on The Citadel from the 90's.
    Thanks!
     
  2. Falcon A

    Falcon A Member

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    I'm speaking as a dad whose son is a NCAA athlete at VMI, and from experience as a former USAFA cadet. (I was not a NCAA athlete. I tried to walk on to the football team but did not make it.)

    I heard the same gripe when I was a cadet. As a freshman, the NCAA athletes would usually get to eat dinner together as a team, as opposed to having to sit and eat with their squadron and cadre. Allowed them to get a few more calories and to develop as a team. Some got out of a few parades or inspections, but that was due to official practices, travel or games. One of the greatest gifts I got was not making the NCAA football team because if I had, I think I would have flunked out that first year. I had nothing but utmost respect for my classmates that were NCAA athletes. I saw them work their butts off for their sport and then pull a full academic load. I attribute the gripes to jealousy.

    At VMI, I think it is a similar story. Approximately 30% of the Corps are NCAA athletes and I think that number grows to over 50% if you include the "club level" sports that also get "permits" that allows them to miss parades and such if they have an official practice, travel or game.

    In the end I think it depends. It depends on the coach if they abuse the situation "to get their players out of the military things" and it depends on the character of the player if they use their situation "to get out of stuff" especially as a freshman and don't do their part to support their Brother Rats. No doubt there are examples where either or both of these things happen at all SAs and "SA-like" schools with a 4th-class/military system.

    My experience and my belief is this is not widespread but jealousy is . . . just my 2 cents.
     
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  3. MAJOROFSTLO

    MAJOROFSTLO Banned

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    First the Reilly article was a hatchet job by a well know muckraking writer who embellished details and used mostly hearsay as evidence. There has long been animosity towards athletes at The Citadel but I understand its also a problem at VMI and the service academies; this mostly stems from the fact that in season athletes are excused from drill, parade and some formations but of course its unavoidable due to their practice, travel and game schedules, some athletes don't help the problem by being less than stellar with their appearance, conduct and military bearing. There have also been claims that athletes that get into trouble are sometimes cut slack on punishments or get coaches to run interference for them. The Citadels new Commandant is a former Navy SEAL who has made big changes and is attempting to correct some of the issues, he did away with the 'corps squad mess' and made athletes eat with their companies, from my perspective most athletes are good people who do the right thing and take their responsibilities seriously; there will always be a minority who give athletes a bad name and some coaches don't do their part by insisting that their players maintain their military and academic responsibilities. Its always a balancing act but no way around it if you are trying to run a Division I athletic program at a military school.
     
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  4. Falcon A

    Falcon A Member

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    While true, my experience is you don't have to be an NCAA athlete to set the bad example -- there are always those that seem to take pleasure in just getting by, doing the minimum and trying to act cool by rebelling against "the system." It is usually from this group the most criticisms seems to come.

    Gen Peay, the VMI Supt, insists on high standards for everyone at VMI. In my opinion, he and his staff run a good operation. Dr. Diles, the new VMI athletic director, has brought in several new coaches, many with service academy or SMC school background, and I think that helps set the right tone. I know the new VMI football coach, Scott Wachenheim (USAFA Class of 84) insists that his players do their best not only at football, but in the classroom and in their military drill. He is turning the VMI system into a strength for his football program as opposed to making it a detriment or turning into something to get out of.

    There are so many examples of good examples, but those seldom get highlighted. At the end of the day, all it takes is one bad example and one critic to make a story. If you are going to an SA or SMC and plan to serve as an athlete, don't be that bad example. If you go and don't become an NCAA athlete, then don't become the guy that is bitter, sour and jealous and that criticizes everyone and everything and just skates by.
     
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  5. Cluelessparent

    Cluelessparent Member

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    If I go by my DS... the answer is YES... In particular Freshman year.. I do not care to elaborate but the stories I heard I too would feel as he did. Jealously...NOTTA.. just the believe everyone should pull their load or make a choice..
     
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  6. zrxkuma

    zrxkuma Member

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    DS was NCAA as a 4rth Classmen (freshman) at VMI. There were several events he was blocked from doing due to being NCAA. He considered this counter to the team building effort of the RAT Line. Another fact is NCAA Penalty Tours consist of a supervised study period vice marching with a rifle. This is where the rubber meets the road with these issues, there are events that the NCAA cadets don't do. How this fact is perceived by their BR's depends partly on the individual NCAA Cadets as well as how their absence is presented by the Cadet leadership. The amount of effort required to stay in an NCAA activity, maintain your contractual obligations if you're ROTC, comply with the remaining Cadet requirements you have and still manage to actually succeeded in a major with any difficulty is staggering. Over the years, DS's class has seen, and appropriately responded to, the vast majority of NCAA individuals who act with the dedication and honor befitting a VMI Cadet.
     
  7. Cluelessparent

    Cluelessparent Member

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    While the others have to stand the line.... can't imagine how that would breed animosity...
     
  8. Falcon A

    Falcon A Member

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    So . . . the first question should be "Why is your performance so bad you have accumulated enough demerits to have to march tours?" Especially if we are talking about the upperclassmen. Maybe those are the type of folks I was talking about up above . . you know . . the ones that try to scrape by, by just doing the minimum, try to act cool by rebelling against "the system", play the game and then complain when they get caught. Yep -- those of are the folks whose opinions should count . . .

    What zrxkuma says here is correct for VMI NCAA athletes that are "in season". If their sport is "off season," they get to march tours just like everyone else.

    What I have seen at VMI is that accumulation of demerits for the freshmen (the Rats) can be a bit "ticky tack" -- all a part of the "Rat Line experience" and not all that unusual to have to march some tours. DS had to march some along with his room mates for something that happened while he was "in season," but the punishment wasn't awarded until he was "off season." He wasn't even a participant in the "offense" since he was at practice, but he took the punishment and marched the tours anyway. Good way to support your BRs.

    HOWEVER, if the situation is the NCAA athlete is always breaking rules and always in trouble . . . it is likely the NCAA coach will take action. Saw it last year where the new football coach kicked a few boys off the team just as the season was starting. At least one was disenrolled. One left the school on their own I think. Another one took his punishment and appears to have changed his ways, and has earned his way back on to the team for this coming season.

    As zrhkuma says, there are things NCAA athletes don't get to do when "in season". For instance, for the fall Army ROTC training exercise, the football athletes didn't get to participate in the Blackhawk helicopter deployment. The exercise is a big deal for the VMI AROTC freshmen, but the fall season NCAA athletes had to miss out on the helicopter rides for their sport.

    Guard duty is an example of a duty NCAA athletes don't have to perform while "in season", but when "off season" they then pull their fair share. Seems like those that make the guard schedule make it all come out close to even. DS even volunteered to take the last guard shift for one of his BRs on the last day before Spring Break started so his BR could leave earlier since he had farther to travel to get home.

    I think zrhkuma is spot on here.

    Amen
     
  9. Cluelessparent

    Cluelessparent Member

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    Not sure where most of that came from? The Op ask a question and there is more than one side right. Small time sports always starts a little RIF on here at times it seems. No my experience is not fist hand just on the outside listening. DS had three athletes as room mates his freshman year. Seems all were AWOL most of the time and he had to STAND THE LINE. All the room chores etc... or he paid the priceot the AWOL atelete. I did not mean tours but he walked his share... I did say freshman year above and after that he could choose a room mate and bet you it was not an athlete :)

    Sorry did not mean to step on toes. Wonder what it would look like in the stadium if Cadets were not forced to attend the game... I think I know...Would love to see them give an option a few home games and see :) I could be wrong, I am CLUELESSPARENT ;)
     
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  10. Falcon A

    Falcon A Member

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    Just my own experience

    You are absolutely right -- thanks for sharing your DS' story from his freshman year. That was not a good situation for him. I would have a low opinion based on that experience too. Would have thought Citadel would have corrected that situation. There is probably a story or 2 like that from VMI as well. My DS is the only NCAA athlete in his room of 4, and I know he doesn't leave his BRs hanging.
     
  11. Cluelessparent

    Cluelessparent Member

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    Some can make it look bad for all...I understand it takes extra disciple to be a student athlete.

    Another thing that was a sore point however with DS in the Corp ranking system, which your are totally aware, is different from ROTC rank was:
    - you were awarded merit points toward Corp rank for fitting certain criteria..One of those was points for being an athlete.
    DS was National Guard depl0yable (SMP)...Basic and AIT.. and had to attend drill out of town once a month ( 3hs away)... actually a 3 day drill and DS had to be at a leadership meeting on Thurs evening with his unit before drilling Fri thru Sun. (Something to think about for those thinking of SMP)
    Then of course he was contracted and had to attend a ROTC weekend drill at least once a month

    Guess how many merit points he received for the above activities. You got it ZERO...Sounds broke ughhh.
    I guess it really was training for the real world ;)
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2016
  12. SpadGuy

    SpadGuy Member

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    Everyone at the SMCs and VMI and The Citadel are required to do sports or clubs or serve as manager or student athletic trainers. Still correct? It was from the 1990s from those who were there.

     
  13. Cluelessparent

    Cluelessparent Member

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    Negative not at El Cid. Mandatory PE class I think for one year if that counts ;)
     
  14. turtlerunnernc

    turtlerunnernc Member

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    Not required at VMI anymore either. Lots of club sports to play if you want to though.
     

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