Athletes at VMI


Apr 7, 2021
Would anyone be willing to share what it’s like being an athlete at VMI? My son will attend this fall on a Navy scholarship. Recently, he was also offered a spot on the team for which he competes. He is excited about the opportunity. As a father , I wonder if this will be an added hardship or will it actually help him with his academics. With the Navy scholarship, he will be taking an engineering path and I know that will not be easy.

just a concerned dad, but very excited for him.
Swimming. Everything I read on this forum says he needs to be going for the right reasons. He absolutely wants this Spartan lifestyle. He wants to be challenged. I wouldn’t be sending him there if I did not think he was all in. He’s going to attend STP this summer to get a class behind him and get to know the campus a little bit.
Current Cadet here, I know a couple of people on the swim team and had one in my company during the Ratline.
I won't go into too much detail, but there are some aspects of the Ratline that NCAA athletes don't have to deal with, or at least to the extent that some of their other BR's do.
So in some sense it can be easier, but the average cadet also doesn't have the daily practice of someone on the swim team so I'd say it's more physically demanding to be an athlete here with some added benefits like having a locker room and upperclassmen teammates to talk to.
Great information. Thank you. He’s gonna attend STP this summer. Hopefully he will get to meet some of his future fellow rats.

Good luck with your school.
I'll actually be staying here for both Summer Sessions, so there's a chance I might meet him.
Some of this might be dated. I was a wrestler at VMI and my son will enter as a wrestler this fall. The main difference is military duty. Most military duty is after classes and before SRC (Super Roll Call). When you are offseason, you have certain practices but also some military duty. When you are in-season, you have very little military duty. Athletes also miss SRC and dine with their teams after the Corps. You also may do some morning practices that would get you out of Breakfast Roll Call (BRC) formation. Sports is more time consuming than a non-athlete but with military duty and the formation requirements of rats it's not much more. Plus, practice is a good mental break from the hill that the non-athletes don't get. The big issue is missing classes during games, matches, meets, etc. I had some brother rats that were very good wrestlers that chose to do the full ratline instead. Sports was big with me. I wanted to wrestle and see what I could do. I don't regret it but I do think back sometimes. It's all what your son wants. It's a trade off. Athletes definitely miss some of the yelling but also miss out on some neat rat training experiences too. Swimming is tough physically like wrestling, but at least he won't have to cut weight... Good luck!
Great information and perspective. He’s never been a big runner. He’s giving up some
Of his swim workouts now to get some running time in and to build some endurance. He has communicated with a few current and incoming swimmers. I know he’s super excited about the opportunity.
Another perspective from someone about 20 years removed and a non-athlete is there is some drama over the stuff missed/not missed but after you graduate it all tends to fade away. I think most of us non-athletes gain more appreciation for what the athletes were going through and how their experience was also as formative. Two of my rats as a first were swimmers and they definitely had a full VMI experience as well (one class officer and one cadet captain) . Good luck to your son.
My son has a friend (former high school classmate and teammate) that plays football at VMI. My son visited there but ended up focusing on school instead.