About the Academy

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There's a lot to learn about what makes the United States Air Force Academy unique. From general questions to specifics about an aspect of the Academy experience, you may find an answer here.

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USAFA Catalog 2013/2014

Athletics FAQ

Do all cadets participate in the athletic program?

Yes. All cadets are required to participate in the athletic program, which includes physical education courses, physical fitness testing and competitive sports. Athletic participation contributes greatly to those attributes normally associated with the development of Air Force leadership potential. Participation helps you develop courage, initiative, team spirit and the will to win. Most cadets find that they enjoy sports as a release from academic schedules – and many become skilled beyond their expectations. Similar to a GPA in academics, cadets are required to maintain a cumulative 2.0 Physical Education Average (PEA) to graduate. The PEA is a composite score of a cadet’s physical education class grades, physical fitness test scores and aerobic fitness test scores.
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What does the athletic program include?

During your first summer in Basic Cadet Training, you’ll undergo strenuous physical training to develop strength, endurance, agility and coordination. Conditioning exercises, an obstacle course and a confidence course are part of this training. During fall and spring semesters, you’ll take physical fitness and aerobic fitness tests, and physical education courses that are part of the curriculum. The physical education instruction includes six core courses, two core electives and two open electives, divided among academic, aquatic, combative, developmental, lifetime and team skills. All cadets also receive extensive instruction in competitive athletics either through varsity athletics, competitive clubs or intramural programs.
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Can a cadet be disenrolled for poor athletic performance?

Yes. Similar to academic GPA, cadets are required to maintain at least a 2.00 cumulative Physical Education Average (PEA). When a cadet’s cumulative PEA falls below 2.00, he or she is deficient, placed on athletic probation and enrolled in mandatory athletic reconditioning. Athletic reconditioning meets for two hours a day, three afternoons each week. If a cadet carries a deficient cumulative PEA for two consecutive semesters, their athletic performance record is reviewed by the Physical Education Review Committee (PERC). The PERC may require additional corrective actions or recommend disenrollment. If recommended for disenrollment by the PERC, a cadet may appeal in-person. The Superintendent has final disenrollment authority.

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Does the athletic program differ for men and women?

The physical education curriculum is identical for men and women with one exception. Women take Intro to Combatives their fourth-class year while men take Boxing. Intramural sports are all co-ed. Rugby and Flag Football both have separate men’s and women’s programs. Women have their own NCAA Division I intercollegiate teams in basketball, cross-country, diving, fencing, gymnastics, indoor and outdoor track, soccer, swimming, tennis and volleyball. Women are also members of the co-ed cheerleading and varsity rifle teams.

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Why is the falcon the Academy mascot?

The falcon possesses characteristics that typify the U.S. Air Force – speed, graceful flight, courage, alertness and noble carriage. Several prairie falcons, which are native to Colorado, and one white gyrfalcon are housed at the Academy. Trained by cadet falconers, the prairie falcons perform demonstrations during half-time activities at football games. The Academy’s intercollegiate athletic teams are known as The Falcons.

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What is the day like for an intercollegiate athlete at the Academy?

Intercollegiate cadet athletes are expected to meet the same military, academic, athletic and character development requirements as every non-intercollegiate cadet. Their schedules are arranged to allow them to fulfill their required credit hours, including their physical education credits, military training time, intercollegiate practice, and finally their time for academic studies. A typical day for all cadets begins at 6:30 a.m. Since intercollegiate athletes typically practice all afternoon, their classes are scheduled throughout the morning. Classes run approximately from 7:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. After lunch and military training time, intercollegiate athletes report to athletic facilities for team practice. Intercollegiate practice times are approximately from 3:00 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. A bus is available for an after-practice ride from the cadet field house to the evening meal at Mitchell Hall. After they have finished eating they will begin studying during the evening Academic Call to Quarters which begins at 8:00 p.m. for all cadets.

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