Jun 15, 2006
One of the common conceptions throughout this forum is that the academies desire an applicant demonstrate a background in sports so that he or she will be able to withstand the rigors of plebe year. This is, in reality, a very miniscule part of the picture.

General MacArthur observed:
Upon the fields of friendly strife are sown the seeds that on other days and on other fields will reap the fruits of victory."

Sports causes a candidate to observe and learn leadership in adversity, the power of cohesion in small units, and the imperative to continue under duress, pain, and loss. They will learn the high moral principal of sportsmanship, the humility and graciousness of victory, and the forbearance, courage, and endurance of defeat. They will learn the pitfalls of arrogance. Yes, a high school letter in sports is much more than being physically fit. There is a reason that the class profiles consistently show an almost 100% statistic of those obtaining sports letters. Also is is why the academies place more emphasis on team sports than individual ones.
USNA, what if I did 5 team sports annually, but they were part of the Department of Defense teams, instead of school varsities? Living overseas.. distances, and etc. has caused me to remain athletic out of the school systems. I only did Cross country for the last 3 years with the school. Would my handful of annual sports compensate for my lack of varsities?
I am being recruited to play a varsity sport at the USNA yet the sport that I play in my hometown is not affiliated with the highschool at this time because it is new in this area of the country. The coach at the academy is aware of this but I have had the same concern as to how it will look on my application to not have earned a varsity letter at my school.
I would say it all depends:

If you are indeed recruited then you don't have a problem. You must however pass the CFA, as well as meet the other requirements for an appointment.

If you and the coach stop talking, then you should step up and explain the situation to admissions, including the sport you have participated in and how high the level of participation.

At USMA - they actually rank sports. Highest ranking goes to contact team sports - football, lacrosse etc. The next grouping are team aerobic sports like soccer, ice hockey, field hockey, basketball etc.
Then they have the "fitness" sports like track, cross country and swimming.
The lowest rankings go to tennis, golf etc.
Playing any sport at a very high level of competition is very highly looked upon. For instance, if swimming is your sport and your school doesn't not have swimming, therefore you don't have a letter BUT you competed in a Regional or National swim meet - that level of competition would take the place of a Varsity Letter.
I did District competitions. Those that performed well with DoDs ended up on a new All star team that assimilated into a national team.. (since Korea is small anyway)
It does not matter that much if the sport was related to a school.
Why Track and Field Rules

Track and Field is so simple. You just cite times, distances, and heights. Be able to back them up.:smile:
Yep - but then track surfaces, FAT timing and wind conditions come into play. Some tracks are slow/fast - even all weather, most schools want to see fully automatic timing now, hopefully you aren't racing into the wind -:wink: .

Again the higher level of competition - the more likely you are to have a great track, FAT and wind calculations.