How does D1 equate to better military?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by MedB, Jul 31, 2013.

  1. MedB

    MedB Parent

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    Charged topic I guess, but we are all adults so hopefully we can keep this exchange civil.


    Question:

    The mission of the SAs is to build outstanding military leaders. And if D1 sports teams, recruited athletes, defacto red-shirting in Prep, having football coaches with salaries 3+ times higher than instructors, and all the rest that goes with traditional college D1 programs (pro and con), supports that core mission of building outstanding leaders...

    ...then why don't the AD branches recruit athletes directly or through their other commissioning channels?


    (Note: We love athletics, and like so many families here we have been involved with, played and coached competitive sports since we can remember.)
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2013
  2. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    No, D1 programs do not produce better military officers. I think athletics is an important part of the experience, but is D1 better than D2 or D3 with creating competition? I don't think so. (of course, I did go to a D3 school, but I haven't seen anything from my old D1 co-workers to suggest they were better prepared.)
     
  3. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    Because they are not recruiting D1 athletes for the service- they are running D1 programs for the publicity and PR value that they bring to the Academy and the service that the SA is a part of. And without a doubt they do get that publicity- the Army-Navy game is a nationally televised event and huge publicity draw every year as is any bowl game in which an SA participates. Just think of all of those tributes that the sportscasters heap on the teams and the Corps of Cadets/Brigade of Midshipmen throughout the broadcast to Duty, Honor, Country, service etc... all of that is positive publicity for both the SA and the specific service and military service in general.

    Now the question to me is if that publicity that the D1 programs generate actually translates into much tangible for the service (does anyone enlist because they have a favorable impression of the military because of that publicity?) or the SA and even more, you could and should question whether the SA itself is well served by the contortions they have to go thru to recruit and retain a D1 football program at schools that are so demanding and restrictive. I kind of swing back and forth on that myself. Some of the most famous Army General officers and leaders of all time were also D1 football players (think Dawkins, Carpenter, Odierno etc...). But it does seem that -protestations from the SA leadership aside- as if all of the Academies do make some serious concessions in their standards for Cadets/ Mids while at the academy and in their post service commitments in order to attract and retain the talent they need to be moderately competitive. So I don't know at what point the scale tips in the direction of "it's not worth it" .
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2013
  4. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Not sure how competitive the USCGA and USMMA programs you're watching, but I'm guessing the other two academies don't have the "serious concessions" you're talking about, related to sports.
     
  5. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    They aren't D1- The focus on the OP's question was on the D1 programs wasn't it? Those are the programs that I am talking about- which seemed clear. Do the NCAA D3 athletics programs make concessions in terms of who they recruit and the expectation of athletes vs other Cadets/ Mids at USCGA-and USMMA? I suspect not nearly as much as at the D1 schools for a fairly good reason- they don't have much reason to do so. They clearly are playing for different reasons- D3 is not a level in which the programs generate any kind of revenue or substantial publicity (no D3 program- regardless of how successful they are- generates more than a passing nod on ESPN "the Ocho" )so they obviously don't expect much publicity from their NCAA programs at that level, and the competition to gain and retain competitive athletes is not nearly as fierce at that level compared to the D1 level.
    So the question is: "Do the D1 playing Service Academies and the DoD actually realize the perceived benefits from playing D1 sports (which IMHO is mostly about positive widespread PR that is aimed at the age group that is the prime demographic target for recruiting for both SA and general military recruiting) and does that justify the tradeoffs that they apparently make to keep them competitive"?
     
  6. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Perhaps "all of the academies" wasn't clear. Maybe "all of the academies with D1 programs" would be clear.
     
  7. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    Whatever. Since the term "D1" was used 5 times in my 7 sentence response it seems fairly clear what the comment was referring to. Perhaps having exercised your editing needs you have some constructive thoughts on the OP's topic - the value or lack thereof in the D1 sports programs at the Academies?
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2013
  8. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    I believe I gave my thoughts. Of course, Bruno, I'm sure you're completely aware of CGA's D1 sport. But I doubt that D1 sport drives anyone to go easy on cadets.

    The programs themselves, aren't the issue, but the publicity they generate is powerful to admirals and generals who don't exactly want to show up in the newspapers for bad things. If cadets and midshipmen are given more slack for playing D1 sports, what happens to the product (officers) going out into the service? I think it suffers.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2013
  9. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    My kids were D1 athletes in a non-revenue sport (I'll let you guess which one).

    Did fencing make them better military officers? Does tennis? baseball? I would say these sports do, in the same way the intramural programs do. These sports build physically fit, competitive, engaged officers.

    So, why have Service Academy cadets/mids participate in intercollegiate athletics at the Div1 level? First off, there is the exposure for the cadet to other college students his/her age. This keeps the kids from being so isolated and enables them to maintain healthy relationships with fellow athletes.

    also, it does bring recognition to the Academies, and the conduct of the athletes both on- and off- the field is often remarked upon by the other teams/coaches.

    In addition, the fact that they participate in Division I athletics means that, presumably, the students at the other schools are among the best athletes in that particular sport (note: not necessarily the best students. All S.A. athletes are not only athletic but among the best students as well). To pit oneself against a tough opponent builds character, strength, determination, perseverance... all qualities espoused by our officer corps. Could they get the same level of competition from Div II or III athletics? Probably not.

    Here I spoke primarily of non-revenue sports. Those sports which make money are a whole different ball game.
     
  10. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Considering how little money from the D1 athletics comes from the academy/tax payers, I don't know what the big deal is. If the academy has the talent level/coaching to compete at the D1 level, more power to them. Obviously, football brings in the most money for air force, army, and navy. That money is used to help fund the other 26 IC sports. When we got a practice field or renovations, much of that money comes from private donations, alumni, etc...

    The only concern I would ever have is if any of the recruite athletes truly did not belong at the academy. In other words, they weren't academically, physically, mentally, morally, etc... compatible with the academy. But considering that the overwhelming majority of even recruited athletes do well at the academy; graduate with good grades; and move on to be fine officers serving their country, I would say that overall, there isn't a significant issue. There may be a couple that get recruited that have no business being there. That is found out pretty quickly and they are gone. But the same can be said about non-IC cadets. If a class starts with 1250 and graduates 1000, 250 of those no longer there are NOT ALL Athletes. So again; I don't see any major problems with Air Force, Army, and Navy having D1 athletics. And if the coast guard and merchants had a larger population of cadets and could have a larger pool to get athletes from; I'd see no problem with them potentially having the opportunity to compete at the D1 level. But they aren't that large; can't get the pool of athletes who are also cadet material; and therefor will never be able to compete at the D1 level. But just because the CG and MM can't, doesn't mean that AFA, WP, and Ana can't compete.
     
  11. BigBear

    BigBear Class of 2015

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    So...most of them?

    It's been pretty well established that the prep schools exist to justify admitting athletes that otherwise would not be competitive academically
     
  12. BDHuff09

    BDHuff09 Member

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    I might get flamed for this, but honestly the first time I looked at a service academy and thought, "Gee, it would be cool to go there" was when I watched the Army-Navy game with my dad back in 6th or 7th grade. Sure, it started mostly as "I like this sports team!", but when the time came to start actually thinking about college, and when I decided that the military was something that lined up with my career interests, USNA and USMA became my top two schools. That interest led me to look at the other service academies and evaluate them to see if they would be right for me. Some I decided I might be interested in (USCGA), while others (USAFA, USMMA) I wasn't. I also decided that I would try for ROTC, because that is how much I would like to be in the military.

    Could you say ALL of my interest in military service came from watching an Army-Navy game? Probably not. But it certainly sparked something that lead me to learn about the military/service academies, and I think that might be what the USNA, USMA, & USAFA have in mind with all the D1 publicity.

    Also, at least with state schools, statistics from several universities have shown that an increase in their football teams performance has lead to an increased number of applications the following year. The University of Missouri, for instance, saw a 20% increase in applications a year after they were ranked #1 for only a few weeks during the 2007 season. While I agree that comparing Mizzou to USXA is like comparing apples to oranges, it would not suprise me if the total number of applicants to the SAs markedly decreases if they were to move their athletic programs to D3. Now we could argue about whether or not that is a good thing, and honestly I don't know the answer to that question, but I would bet that the Academies themselves want to keep the number of applicants as high as possible.

    A final point: I am not saying that I only want to go to a certain two service academies because they play in a big rivalry game each December. I am only saying that watching that game in a way lead to my interest into the two schools, and by extention, service in the military in general.
     
  13. goaliedad

    goaliedad Parent

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    I'll throw out a couple thoughts....

    1) They are in D1, so the implied question (never asked if should be phrased of why not D3 across the board), let's just say switching to D3 would look like sticking up a white flag - almost like saying we want the 2nd best military in the world.

    2) To answer the asked question about why athletes are not recruited through "other commissioning channels" - Who says they aren't???

    I talked to the ROO at the D1 institution I am affiliated with back when my daughter was applying for her AROTC scholarship. If they find an athlete who has any inkling of wanting to serve, they were all over it. Over the years they would get a few through their BN, mostly in track and field (and BTW this is a nationally ranked T&F school).

    I also know that our buddy Clarkson is always trying to recruit the D1 hockey players for his ROTC unit.

    I also know from my daughter's ROTC recruitment, one of the reasons she was awarded a 4-year campus scholarship was that she was a recruited athlete (D3).

    Maybe I am misunderstanding the question, but maybe you mean recruit through other commissioning channels exclusively (no D1 at SAs)?

    Now that would be a different answer... Then you have forced the top level athlete to make a choice D1 or SA.

    Unfortunately, I sense that this thread will be turning to the traditional bashing of the history of questionable characters who have been associated with the various D1 teams at the SAs.

    My bottom line thought on why SAs should be D1 schools is that if you want to be the best, don't do a half-effort at anything. That includes sports. If you decide D1 isn't worth the headache, shut down the varsity sports teams - don't compete at a LOWER level of commitment. I will exclude CGA from this as it is too small of an institution to be able to make a serious stab at a D1 program.
     
  14. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    We were trying to make a serious stab at a high school varsity program! :biggrin:
     
  15. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    And I would totally disagree with this. I admit that there are "some" athletes that get into the academy who probably shouldn't get there. Especially for academic reasons. But in no way is that "Most of them". The football team for example has approximately 50 recruited athletes per year. Reallize, the word "Recruited Athlete" doesn't mean the same thing for the academy that people relate it to with a college athletic scholarship. Point is; the overwhelming majority of these "Recruited Athletes" do NOT go to the prep school. And the majority of them competed with everyone else in their state/districts for nominations and admittance to the academy. The majority of these recruited athletes have the 3.86 type GPA and high act/sat scores. The majority have proven themselves. Many are even attending grad school after graduating the academy. Only a small number attend the prep school and only a small number of those would even be questionable. But I would agree that those that are questionable, should have had a little more vetting prior to allowing the questionable ones into the academy.
     
  16. newtoallthis

    newtoallthis Member

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    Flame away-

    I'm biased, but here are some observations from the mom of a recruited D1 athlete [not football] going through Plebe Summer-

    1. DS was 'recruited' if you will by the regular military. He was 'messaged' on facebook a couple of times about opportunities to serve. It wasn't spam, and it took place after he had gotten some widespread notice for his athletic abilities. So if you think D1 athletes aren't on the radar for 'regular' military recruiters, our experience says otherwise.

    2. DS was 'recruited' by one of the SAs that doesn't have his sport. A letter followed by an information packet. At no point did he EVER express an interest or sign up for information from this SA. Again, this came after his athletic accomplishments were noticed.

    3. DS was recruited by two SAs which have his sport, as well as D1, D2 and D3 programs, so we are in a position to be able to compare the 'recruit speech' made by each. The SAs are flat out impressive compared to the rest. (I don't have to go into why since most of you on this site would probably agree) From our experience, a D1 athlete doesn't choose a SA to play their sport--it's the big picture and SA coaches do a very good job of spelling this out.

    Now, what do D1 athletes offer the military?

    First, if you think about it, the skill level of an athlete good enough to attract notice from any D1 programs doesn't happen overnight. YEARS of hard work and discipline along with sacrifice [no more free weekends or summers] go into it. DS hasn't had a completely free summer since the summer after third grade and most weekends after fourth grade are accounted for. DS has gone through many coaches, some very professional and caring, some downright verbally abusive. No matter the coach or their personality, DS was able to learn from the experience and apply the knowledge toward becoming a better athlete.

    I'm not former military, so I cannot comment on what the military needs, but I have to think that an individual accustomed to years of sacrifice and various personality types, who can improve themselves DESPITE this, is the type of person the military would be interested in.

    Secondly, and this IS intended for all of those who knock the place of athletics at SAs [so flame away], I cannot think of leadership tests kids can have that mimic the ability to think on one's feet, rely on training and make split second decisions as well as a high level athletic contest. In an athletic contest, the athlete literally has seconds to make a decision. No offense, but this isn't an Eagle Scout project that takes time, or Boys state which is a controlled environment. Many things can go wrong in athletic contest and making them go right is a huge accomplishment.

    I also have to think that ability would be highly prized by the military.
     
  17. AF6872

    AF6872 Member

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    NEW; :thumb: No flame here.
     
  18. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    I have to say, newtoallthis, this I don't disagree with much of what you have to say.

    There is much to be said about the dedication that results in a great D1 caliber athlete. Late nights, early morning, weekends and summers.... all sacrificed in the pursuit of perfection.

    I was not a D1 caliber athlete. I played soccer for a long as I could remember, played ice hockey in high school, and when I got to college played soccer, hockey, lacrosse and indoor track (200m and long jump).

    I'm 29 now and out of the service. I'm not as light or fast as I was in college, but I still play hockey.

    D3 sports, and club sports are likely slower than D1. I won't really argue that. But I do think the "split second thinking" I need, even in men's league hockey is at least on par with the "split second thinking" a D1 football player needs (only I'm moving faster).

    Yes, there are skills and behaviors that athletes have that the military can benefit from, but those skills and behaviors aren't unique to D1 athletes or D1 athletic programs. Certainly teamwork and goal setting is held common across all levels of athletics (but vary across kinds of sports).

    And in the end, let's be honest that, while some sports, even at the D1 level require athletes to think on their feet in seconds, there are many D1 sports that are robotic, slow or requiring little thinking. Gun goes off, I jump from the blocks and run as fast as I can, in my lane, for 200 m. The only thinking I need to have is start and stop. And less thinking probably goes into other sports.... certainly slower thinking.

    This isn't a flame though. I think what you're describing is the benefits of athletics.... not the benefit of D1 athletic programs.
     
  19. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Newtothis: Excellent post.

    Too many people have 2 big misconceptions.
    1) Many, Most, a lot, whatever, of athletes are a bunch of dumb jocks. They can definitely find "some", but they don't want to recognize how a large number of athletes, (MAJORITY in the academies), are NOT dumb jocks. They are just as, if not more competitive than the non-jock.
    2) The academies stress how they want "Well Rounded" individuals. And contrary to what many think, the varsity letter athlete and/or the D1 level recruited athletes, are MORE well rounded than those who weren't as involved in athletics. The traits and attributes of a serious and competitive athlete, makes the individual a much more well rounded and desirable candidate.

    Athletics is probably the closest non-military activity that is related to "Real World" military life. Even more so than Civil Air Patrol and JrROTC. When it comes to the real military and accomplishing the mission, none of the customs and courtesies, dress and appearance, or any of the other formalities of the military (or CAP/JrROTC/Scouting) mean anything. What gets the mission accomplished, is "THE TEAM". And while teamwork and such can be learned, an individual who has been doing this for 10-15 years already, are a much more well rounded and desirable individual.

    Do the academies also care about D1 athletics? Yes. It would be naive to think otherwise. Most universities only have a set number of sports that they can "Afford". The academies provide all possible athletic opportunities. The air force has 27 Inter-Collegiate sports for their students. That's not counting the "Club" sports they also offer. This is way more than almost any other university would offer. And it costs money for this. The Big D1 programs like football pays towards ALL of these sports. So yes, the academy cares about their D1 programs. Without that, the rest of the student body would suffer with some activities not even being made available, let alone the funding required.

    Life is not perfect. Anything you present, can be shown to have some areas that need improvement on. There is no question that the academy's athletic programs need some improvements too. But to believe that D1 athletics isn't an attribute and benefit to the academies is ignorant. And there is no argument that can be made to compare the CG and MM academies and how they don't have D1 athletics and they do fine. They don't have D1 athletics because they have 20-25% of the student body, and there's no way they could compete at the D1 level with the pool of applicants they get applying to the academy. I would say that air force, navy, and army barely make the D1 caliber level. And that's with having 1000-1300 cadets each year coming to the academy.

    Sorry for the passionate and long winded post. But it's getting real old hearing people complain about the academies and their D1 sports. (Obviously we're talking air force, army, and navy). These arguments do not take into account the positives that these sports, athletes, and programs bring to the academies. People don't want to admit that the reason 85%+ of all cadets got varsity letters in high school, is because that level of competitive athletics makes for a BETTER applicant to the military academies. Even in the enlisted corp, a good percentage of new recruits were involved in competitive athletics in high school. It's just a natural fit with the military.

    Anyway; there are some individuals at the academy who probably shouldn't be there, but that's not just athletes. We have 4.0gpa 34ACT appointees who enter the academy, and for whatever reason, they are incompatible with the academy and military life. There are some individuals who have a 3.5gpa who become some of the best cadets and officers there are. And I don't mean to put him on the spot, but there are some individuals (Who post on this forum), who attended the prep school and then academy, and became one of the finest officers in the military. So while there may be some individuals who shouldn't be at the academy; don't narrow it to athletes and the prep school. That is a lame argument. I don't want an academy or officer corp made up of all the 4.0gpa, #1 class ranked, 36 ACT, etc... nerd, I prefer the 3.85 gpa, #10 ranked, 30ACT, who is also on 1-3 varsity sports teams, does volunteer work, has compassion, is involved in other clubs and activities, etc...
     
  20. burnerafter16

    burnerafter16 Member

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    NARPS rule!:rolleyes:

    Kidding aside, Christcorp summed it up very well.:thumb:
     

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