football scholarship

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by olpilot, Nov 1, 2009.

  1. olpilot

    olpilot New Member

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    I have a grand son who has been offered a football scholarship at the academy. How does that work as to committments and such. Are these guys just like the other cadets and have some number of years to serve after graduation? Do they get paid in addition to receiving room and board?
     
  2. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    First of all; there is no such thing as a football scholarship to the academy. You can be "Offered" an appointment. That appointment is no different than any other applicant who gets an appointment to the academy.

    Next; even though your grand son may be offered an appointment to the academy, he STILL has to meet all the same requirements that every other applicant applying to the academy must meet. Including minimum grades, test scores, medical clearance, nomination by a congressman/president/etc... There are no differences.

    Yes; if he receives the appointment to the academy, he is committed after graduation to a minimum of 5 years of service as a commissioned officer in that branch of service that he attended the academy.

    The only difference between being a "Recruited Athlete"; which is what your grandson would be; and a traditional applicant applying to the academy; is that there are some slots held for athletes, and if the academy wants him bad enough, they will help him through the application process. But make no mistake about it, it is NOT THE SAME as receiving an athletic scholarship.

    And just so you know; the average college gives out about 18-20 athletic scholarships a year for football. These are in fact PAID SCHOLARSHIPS. Which means, that the school/team obviously will play him. They are after all paying his college tuition. At the academy, because there is no such thing as an athletic scholarship, and they are recruiting for future "MILITARY OFFICERS"; they can and generally do recruit approximately 50-60 football players each year. Of which half will not be on the team by their Junior year. But, because these AREN'T Athletic Scholarships, the individual is still going to school at the academy and will still have a 5 year commitment to the military after graduation. It's also not uncommon for many applicants who are athletes to get to the academy and immediately quit the athletics and be "Normal" students. Military academy cadets who are also athletes, have a very intense and demanding life at the academy. They have to perform just like every other cadet. They have to maintain the same GPA as all other cadets. They have the same training as all other cadets. And then....... when all the classroom and military stuff is done; they will have about 3 hours a day of training for their sport. They WON'T be allowed to have the same off duty or off season time off that most cadets have. Football players will be discouraged by their coaches to do anything that could potentially cause an injury; such as going skiing with their friends; parachuting; etc....

    Sorry if this is a bit confusing. Please ask more specific questions and I will be happy to help explain it. But rest assured, that there is absolutely nothing in common with an appointment to the academy; even if you're an athlete; and a true athletic scholarship. In other words, a 2.0 gpa student from "XYZ" high school can be offered a football scholarship to USC or Florida. But that same 2.0 gpa student won't receive an appointment to the academy. Even if he is one of the best athletes in the country. The military recruits "MILITARY OFFICERS". Not athletes.
     
  3. olpilot

    olpilot New Member

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    Thanks for the explanation. Sounds like an athlete is really at a disadvantage. As a former Vietnam era pilot, I understand a bit re: Air Force committments. I believe my grandson may not fully understand what he might be getting into. As he has several other "offers", maybe should take a second look. I know how demanding schools can be without the extra work load of an athlete. Thanks again.
     
  4. mom3boys

    mom3boys Parent

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    I wouldn't say athletes are at a disadvantage at a service academy. Everyone is an athlete and everyone has mandatory sports time. Some would say athletes have an easier time. During the summer, for example, training is cut short for football players...they cannot do the same length "beast" as they have to start practice. When all cadets go to "sports time" the athletes get a break; they are with teammates and are treated as such, as opposed to "new cadets." During the beginning of the academic year while the 4th class cadets are learning table duties, athletes are eating at ease at the athletic table. They are getting whatever extra calories their trainers deem necessary. When athletes go on extended road trips, tutors may go along. Athletes leave campus, while non-athletes are stuck with leaving once a semester when they have a pass. Most would tell you it's good to be a corps squad athlete at an academy!

    Mom of a happy athlete, Go Army Swim and Dive!
     
  5. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    mom3boys; not sure if the "Army" is different than the air force; but you did sign out as "Go Army", and this IS an Air Force forum. The reason I bring this up, is because I know first hand that a lot of what you are saying about athletes at the academy; at least the air force academy; isn't quite correct.

    1. Everyone has mandatory "Sports Time". Theoretically yes; but you will find that most cadets, especially this time of year because of the weather at the Air Force academy, aren't doing as much "Intramural" sports as you think.

    2. Beast (BCT - Basic Cadet Training) their first year, is NOT CUT SHORT for athletes. My son, Fencermom's boys, and every other IC (Intercollegiate Athlete) did the entire 6 weeks of Basic Cadet Training. They didn't get out of any of it. There were times however when the rest of the basics in training had "Sports Time", where those who were IC athletes, had to go to gym and work out on weights and such while the rest of their basic class was having "Fun" and bonding with other basic. One reason is so that the IC athlete didn't get hurt "PLAYING".

    3. Also, in the summer, you don't get to just pick or choose whatever summer break that you want. Not if you're a football player. The team usually won't have any of the players on 3rd period summer break, except for very few exceptions.

    4. As for eating arrangements; yes, athletes eat with their team mates, but most everyone eats "At Ease" once BCT is over.

    5. Yes, football and other athletes get to leave campus for sporting events, but the air force academy has PLENTY of passes for their cadets. They can leave numerous weekends. The football player however is playing on Saturday, traveling the weekend, and VERY FAR BEHIND on their homework.

    Now; you might be talking army. But the air force academy is different. And being the poster, posted on the Air Force forum, I have to believe that is the academy they were interested in. Are there perks to being an IC Athlete? Yes. Are there negatives? Most definitely. Each athlete is different. Depending on what that cadet wants from the academy and their military career later on, some have no problem doing the academy and sports. There's also plenty that will give up the sports so they can concentrate on the academic side of the academy. Some want to participate in "Exchange Programs". Some are trying for Med-School and doing more academics. The point is, while there is some glamor in being an IC athlete, there is a lot more work to being able to do both that and the academics/military portion of the academy. And you will lose out a lot as an athlete. But there is also some great personal rewards.

    But Olpilot; I can say that at least in the Air Force academy, an IC Athlete will have a "Busier" and more "Structured" day than a non-IC cadet. Their classes will usually ONLY be in the morning hours (Mainly during season), and they will train/compete/etc.... in the afternoon hours. They will be expected to keep up their grades just like everyone else. And just because they were gone all weekend at another university, doesn't mean they don't have to have homework or their assignments ready come Monday morning if they are due then. And when they leave on Friday to get on a plane to wherever, and they miss any classes, it is their responsibility to make sure they get whatever they need. Yes, the academy is excellent at taking care of their cadets. Even the athletes. But the academy comes first. And Coach Calhoun (The football coach, and Air Force academy graduate), considers academics #1 priority. To show you how serious he is; the freshman Quarterback; Freshman of the YEAR player in the entire Mountain West Conference; who took the starting job away from a SENIOR half way through last season; was NOT ALLOWED to practice during the week during spring training. NOT ONE DAY, because his grades weren't high enough. Calhoun made him practice his but off on Saturdays, and he made up classes during the week.

    Anyway, best of luck to your grandson. The air force academy is a fantastic place. If your grandson is a hard worker, enjoys the team work, wants to serve his country, and wants there to be more to life; then the air force academy can be a fantastic experience and eventual career as an Air Force officer. best of luck. mike.....
     
  6. olpilot

    olpilot New Member

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    I'm sure there must be some perks for the athletes. I do find it a stretch to label all cadets as athletes. As stated before, I'm Air Force. I have seen the type of training involved. It's not as demanding as practicing 3 hours per day and then playing on Saturday. It's difficult enough in high school with the kid getting home at 6:30 in the evening after practice. He then has to eat something and jump into academics for several hours. I know the players have tutors. I'd guess without them that most would not be able to compete successfully. I'd like to hear from some football players if possible. Your opinions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
     
  7. mom3boys

    mom3boys Parent

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    Obviously each SA runs a different program. Thank you for correcting any misinformation I might have erroneously passed on. :redface:
     
  8. Texasrocks

    Texasrocks Member

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    ha try going to morning swim practice for an hour forty five changing eating going to school followed by two and one half hours and getting home at 8. 2-3 day swimming meets and practice year round with a week off on spring break and two in august. that is demanding
     
  9. bigcox

    bigcox USAFA Cadet

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    i'll agree with the other ic's on here. and to label all cadets as athletes is somewhat of a joke. especially now that intramurals (fun time) are cancelled almost every day cuz of weather. and i've been to a few "training sessions" that the regular cadets do. even after going to practice for that day, i still have an easy time with finishing the "training session." most of it is a joke compared to ic practice. to top it all off, some training sessions are either postponed or cancelled altogether. but for those who are wanting to be ic's, it's a helluva challenge to balance academics, athletics, and military aspects especially when in season. don't expect high gpas, high mpas, or possibly even high peas. but do expect the respect and honor that comes from being a D-1 athlete. you get out of it what you put into it. good luck to those aspiring IC athletes! :thumb::thumb:
     
  10. olpilot

    olpilot New Member

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    Texasrocks, I didn't mean that football was more demanding than swimming. Wouldn't have a clue on that one. But it is more demanding than the Academy required athletics. I'm sure both of these sports is very demanding and requires a lot of fortitude. I'm just not sure it's what my grandson would like to do for 4 years. He may not realize the intensity of the requirements there compared to other universities. Then there is the 5 year committment. Maybe I'm overstating the difficulties of a football player at AFA. Would be nice to get their opinions.
     
  11. Texasrocks

    Texasrocks Member

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    No issue taken. Many of the IC athletes have to compete at a higher level than most in order to compete at NCAA's or in the bowl games. If your grandson is not going to play pro ball consider the fact that he has a very good paying job for 5 years and will have a ton of experience. In this economy that is a great plus especially when it will take at least 5 years for many of those laid off workers with 10 years plus experience to even get back in the job market. In addition there is the pride of serving your country (even though half of it does't care.)

    From what I have seen of AF football they are very good. My swimmer has choosen this route he was recruited by several top swimming schools with scholarships. He wants to represent his country and the AF or Navy in the service and at international competitions in swimming. It is a choice your grandson has to make.
     
  12. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    olpilot. My son was a recruited football player his first year. Actually, he received an appointment early, which he already accepted, so he was already accepted prior to be recruited. He played his first year; last year. But like I said, they recruit in 50-60 players. Unlike the 18-20 guaranteed that a traditional school will recruit. As such, they can't possibly keep all 50-60 each year. If they did, the football team would be about 200 players. Needless to say, he didn't make the cut his 2nd year. He's OK with that, because he wanted the academy prior to even being recruited for football. And there will be some who make it even through their 2nd year on the team who won't make the cut going into their 3rd or 4th year. Again, a traditional school recruits and pays for 18-20 with scholarships. So obviously, they aren't going to not keep them on the team. But the academies are different. Because they don't actually give athletic scholarships, there is no guarantee that any recruited athlete stays on the team. Some are cut. Some can't handle the sports, academics, and military training; so they quit. The good thing about the academy however, is if you don't want to stay being an IC athlete, you can quit and remain at the academy and continue on like everyone else and become a commissioned officer.

    My son doesn't visit these forums, but I've been very involved with the academy, and I am very knowledgeable of what his schedule was. Here was a normal day (During the season).

    1. Wake up with everyone else; approximately 5:30am. Do all the get ready stuff for school
    2. Go to breakfast with everyone else.
    3. Do all your classes Back, to Back, to Back, the entire morning.
    4. Go to lunch with everyone else.
    5. After lunch, go to the field house (Training facility). Work out in the weight room, running, exercises, etc....
    6. About 3:30pm, get ready for football practice.
    7. Practice until about 6pm...ish.
    8. Get back in time for dinner. (Dinner is on your own. Most cadets take it to go). If training lasted longer, he'd grab some sandwich stuff at the field house and make some sandwiches for dinner.
    9. Get back to the dorms; and do any chores or duties he had.
    10. Study and get homework done. Starting around 7pm.
    11. Taps around 10pm or whatever; sometimes stay up later to finish homework.
    12. Go to bed
    13. Wake up at 5:30am...ish; stir briskly; and start all over again.

    Oh yea, there's also the games on the weekend. So, if there's any homework to do, he had to take it with him, do it with whatever time he had; or work like hell on Sunday.

    During the off season, the same schedule, except after the weight room, running, exercising, etc.... ended around 3:30-4:00, he didn't have practice. So he was free to go back to the squadron. But, during the off-season, he was expected to be "More-Involved" with squadron duties such as CQ, chores, or any other squadron related activities.

    Most of your friends were others on the team, because you really didn't have a lot of free time to "Hang out" with other classmates. Air Force allows a lot of weekend time off. While others were taking the day off and going to the mall or whatever, football players were either practicing, playing, or catching up on their home work. And I'll brag for a second and say that my son was able to pull it off. He finish his 1st semester with a 4.0gpa and his 2nd semester with a 3.95gpa. But he had very little free time.

    And while it was a little discouraging to not make the cut the 2nd year, he is actually OK with it. Again, he always wanted the academy. More than football. He was recruited and offered numerous other scholarships. (Mostly academic scholarships). But he said he'd rather go to the air force academy and get cut from the team (He knew his chances with 60 freshman players), than to go to some of the other schools and play football for all 4 years. He bought a snow board and has gone boarding a number of times now. (Couldn't do that when on the team). We still go down for all the home games, so he can sit with us and spend the weekend with us after the game. That wasn't always possible last year when he was on the team. His girl friend can come and visit on some weekends and they can go hang out. Couldn't always get away when he was on the team. He's still maintaining his 4.0gpa this semester and just declared his major in Pre-Med. So all in all, he is happy.

    Does he miss football; yes and no. Here in Wyoming, we have very small schools and thus small football teams. He played Iron-Man football. Receiver, Defensive Back, Place Kicker, and special teams. Did the whole "Won state championship" thing. Ring and all. But at the academy, as with any football team. You're recruited for a specific position. So he really didn't care about only playing the one position. He definitely misses hanging out with the guys; but he's still friends with many of them, and they still hang out when the players have some free time. One of his room mates is still a player on the team. But all in all he's ok with it.

    But I won't blow sunshine up you. There have been some cadets who thought this was going to be like a traditional "Recruitment". "Hey, they want me to play football. Cool". You feel real good about it until you see 50+ others that you're competing with. And NONE are guaranteed to stay on the team. Some make it to their junior/senior year and never even dress. Many quit not only the team, but the academy (Which you're allowed to do the first 2 years); and they go off to another school because they want to play ball. They thought being recruited meant the same as a civilian school. It doesn't. Yes, they want you at the academy. They want you to be an officer. And they want you to "TRY OUT" for the team. But STAYING on the team isn't guaranteed.

    Now, there are some other sports that aren't quite as risky for staying on the team. Some have a lot less competition. Obviously, football is very popular. As such though, there are a lot of players recruited. There's a lot of competition.

    Anyway; hopefully I was able to provide a little insight in the life of an Air Force academy football player. It's a very demanding life. It can be very rewarding. You also give up a lot. And some can balance the sport, academics, and military life. Some cant. Best of luck. Mike.....
     
  13. cadetmom100

    cadetmom100 Member

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    My son is a recrutied athlete/football player, and much of what has been said already rings home. Yes, there are advantages, and yes there are disadvantages. It takes a huge committment to keep the schedule the athletes are requried to keep, and was noted, often this is requried even though they are not playing as much as they would like etc. For the first time these kids are not the stars they are used to being - everyone here is star. And beleive me, this applies in the classroom as much as on the field. Time is the biggest enemy of athletes, so they need to be able efficient and organized.

    We emphasized over and over before he made his decision to go to AF that he needed to be sure that if he got hurt day one and never had the chance to play football, that this was where he wanted to go to school. Obviously he made his choice, and all has turned out well, but as with everything with AF there have been lots of ups and downs. Most of his his "scholarship" buddies take 12 hours of class in the fall - at least some of which could be considered "fluff" - cadets take a minimum of 18 hours, including calc, physics, engineering etc.... quite a difference, and often frustrating to a 19 year old!

    So it really depends on the individual, but it is not a decision that should be made on the basis of football.

    Good luck. Contact me if you would like more personal insignts.
     
  14. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    Just slightly off topic clarification - At West Point, football players don't "get out" of Beast. They must complete all the requirements for graduation. The only reason they don't do the marchback with the rest of the class is that Beast at West Point runs longer that Beast at the AF academy. They do the marchback earlier so they can make practice. It is a timing issue and nothing to do with favoritism.

    opilot - I hope your son will make a recruiting visit to Air Force, if he is interested in a AFA education and serving 5 years Active Duty. There are positives and negatives to any decisions such as this and he will have to weigh that.
    D-1 recruiting is not for the light hearted. It is very complicated.
    One huge benefit of an academy over a civilian school is that if you choose to stop playing or get injured or don't make the team; you can stay in school and won't lose your "scholarship".
    Academy life is tough, the first year can be really tough. Being an IC athlete can make life easier. All of the Academies are known for providing a lot of support to their athletes.
     
  15. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    OK! I'm weighing in.

    Twin sons both on fencing team last year, and one chose to quit this season, but is hoping he'll make the boxing team. :confused: Both (crazy galoots) declared Physics as their majors. :eek:

    Their schedule for the 4* year was similar to ChristCorp's son's. One twin said he figured he had about 45 minutes a day that he could devote to himself & personal pursuits. Unlike football, fencing is a year-round sport and so the practice didn't let up until after April's NCAA championships.

    They were not permitted to leave BCT at all, despite the fact that their first fencing tournament was early in September and that mean they were competing after not having even seen their fencing equipment since June.

    While both my boys do well academically, even when they needed help, they did notice that the E.I. (Extra Instruction) conflicted with their practice time and neither ever went to a tutor. Dinner was also definitely an issue for them. They ran from the fieldhouse to Mitch's, getting in just before closing, and carried their dinner back to their rooms.

    Both boys were proud and excited to be part of a Division I fencing program, and knew all about hard work. They were both used to hard work at home, both had 20 hr/week part-time jobs, took 16 college credits a semester (in addition to their high school work), and fenced every night for 2-3 hours, plus Saturdays. They are not lazy guys but were really swamped at USAFA. That said, at the Academy they were afforded the opportunity to travel to places they had never been: California (twice), N. Mex, TX, Indiana... I can't remember where all they went.

    But, the hours are grueling, and there's little let-up. They miss a lot that their squadmates are doing. Their access to clubs and other activities is greatly curtailed. When they miss class for travel, they are completely responsible for make-ups, alerting instructors of their anticipated absences, etc.

    So, there are some very cool advantages, but the distinct disadvantages are there as well, and no prospective Division I athlete should go into this thinking "wow! I'm great! they've recruited me!" It's not quite so simple at the Service Academies.

    *As of this season, one remains on the team. The other, while very interested in boxing, has joined a couple clubs, is a correspondent for his squadron's parents' newsletter, and is having a much more relaxed life just now. Both guys: loving it! (mostly!:thumb:)
     
  16. bigcox

    bigcox USAFA Cadet

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    do those two fencers happen to be in squads 4 and 5?
     
  17. olpilot

    olpilot New Member

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    Thank you all for your insight and information. I will pass on what I have gleaned. Good luck to all your cadets.
     

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