First off, my apologies for side-tracking this thread.
There weren’t any academies in the beginning. You could segment if the project were open and unpopular or abandoned. By default today all new projects/channels are closed. There are still some old projects open, but I doubt many are standing unsegmented.
The academies (both of them) were established to maintain high quality of segments we see today. (Those of us who translate old dramas will know exactly what that means.)
The rule of choosing only academy graduates for segmenters is posed by the CM of a certain project. Viki is advising the segmenters to be graduates, but as far as I know they are not forbidding non-graduates.
A person can come to Viki already experienced in segmenting. And the segment editor is intuitive and easy. So, theoretically there is no technical limitation why a new Vikian can’t segment immediately, without being a graduate.
However, Viki community has its own standards in cutting, different from other sites, stemming from (among other things) the fact that Viki’s subbers don’t skip anything in translation and that translation occurs in multiple languages, resulting in multiple lengths of the one and the same sub on screen. Hence, the segmenting is done much more carefully and is more considerate to both subbers and viewers. This needs to be learned and it’s easiest for everybody is if you follow a program from one of the academies.
There are some old projects which either don’t have English subs or they are hardsubs.