Air Force Academy tradition and values mandate that every cadet must be an athlete. This not only promotes a life-time involvement in athletics and fitness, but also provides cadets the team-building and leadership experiences necessary to succeed in today's Air Force. For this reason, cadets not otherwise engaged in intercollegiate or competitive club athletics participate in the Academy's Intramural Sports Program.
The Intramural Sports Program offers cadets multiple ways to compete both within and beyond the cadet wing. There are 5-6 sports offered throughout the year in which all cadet squadrons field a team. During an 11-game regular season and 4-round post-season held in both the fall and spring semesters, 200 teams comprised of approximately 3,000 cadets face-off in biweekly competition.
The most competitive intramural athletes go on to participate in the Extramural Sports Program. Extramural teams are sent around the country to compete on the Regional and National levels, including a healthy inter-service rivalry with West Point and the Naval Academy.
The Intramural Sports Program is managed by three Athletic Department permanent party personnel while all day-to-day operations are handled by the cadet wing athletic officer and their staff, including a league sports manager for each sport, squadron athletic officer for each squadron, and coach for each team.
At the end of the academic year, one squadron is awarded the Malanaphy Trophy. This award goes to the squadron with the most Malanaphy points earned primarily though contest wins and outstanding leadership.