Saint Benedict's and Saint John's realize the importance of intercollegiate, club, and intramural athletics in complementing a liberal arts education. As Benedictine, residential, academic communities, the two colleges encourage, in part through their programs in athletics, the development of life-long recreational interests, involvement in community activities, awareness of the need for common efforts, leadership skills and concern for physical and emotional health.

The colleges recognize that athletics help to promote institutional identity and visibility, to attract prospective students, to provide informal interaction between faculty and students, to maintain academic achievement and to sustain a morale that contributes to student satisfaction and retention. Intercollegiate varsity competitions not only benefit the student-athletes, but also provide a source of recreation for other students, faculty, staff, graduates and friends, as well as opportunities for the expression of school spirit.

Saint Benedict's and Saint John's are members of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), Division III, and the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC). Both colleges support in principle and in practice the policies of the MIAC and NCAA regarding student recruitment, academic achievement, course selection, accommodations and financial aid. The colleges control, budget and staff their athletic programs through the same general procedures that apply to other departments.