On Friday, Navy Athletics tweeted out a picture of Navy football players at Quantico doing Quantico things:
The tweet went semi-viral, getting noticed by CBS Sports, Sirius XM, and some of the more well-read college football blogs. It’s a great demonstration of why service academies play Division I sports, especially football. The only reason why the general public cares about a picture of mids in a stream is because those mids also happen to be varsity athletes. Athletics allows service academies to reach an audience that wouldn’t otherwise pay attention to them, and no sport reaches a bigger audience than football. It’s more than just good PR, too. Some high schooler will see this picture and start wondering if maybe that’s something that he or she wants to do. And that’s the whole point.
It’s just one tweet, so I don’t want to make too big of a deal out of it. But if you need an example of how athletics make service academies accessible to the mainstream public, well, here you go.