Sports should not define Academies

Should this policy stay in place?

  • Let the policy stay in place

    Votes: 2 13.3%
  • Remove the policy

    Votes: 13 86.7%

  • Total voters
    15
  • Poll closed .
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kappapa

Member
https://thejrreport.com/2017/04/04/recent-dod-policy-will-change-the-way-military-academies-compete-in-college-football/

I know that this story is a year old, but I have seen only one article on the internet having a problem with this policy. I am referring to the DoD making it possible for Academy grads to completely circumvent their active duty OBLIGATION to serve in the reserves in order to go straight to pro sports. This can not be allowed to be on, it is wrong on so many different levels.

1. Service Academies have one purpose and one purpose alone, to produce high quality officers for the military. Any deviation from this mission is a corruption of the intention of the academies. This includes lowering standards for recruited athletes in order for SA Athletics to do well in competition with other Civilian Schools.

2. No amount of "profit" (fyi there is no profit to be gained from Collegiate sports, not even through merchandise) or "morale boosts" for doing well in D1 athletics is worth the dip in quality or now population of active duty officers. I have had a huge problem with individuals being recruited for the merits of their athleticism alone, but now some of these individuals can essentially skip out on serving their country (who picked up their Tier 1 education bill) to the full extent of their ability all in order to serve their selfish goals of being a rich pro-athlete. It is wrong.

3. The article points out that the commitment to serve after going to a free military academy was a "turn off for many athletes during recruitment season". But now that pesky policy won't get in the way of their dreams! Thank God the DoD is more than happy to be used as yet another academic athlete laundering avenue for athletes to get to their promised land that America as a whole is obsessed with.

4. America has a college problem. A problem that entails economic anchors to graduates, subpar scores and useful degrees. All of these problems can be linked to America's trademark on higher education, Collegiate Sports. Why has tuition been increasing for public colleges? There is a strong correlation between rising tuition costs and payments toward school's athletic programs/facilities/coaches. Recruiting athletes (not just for Academies) but all public universities has led America on a decline in useful degree holders and subpar academic scores when compared with nations from around the world.

5. Prep Schools need to be reevaluated. I know the prep schools were created (initially) to give enlisted personnel who have been away from school for a couple of years a year to catch up, or to give candidates from the previous cycle a year to prove themselves in an academic field they were lacking in. However, this is not the case. The Prep schools are being used by coaches to launder athletes who met very few core requirements to be eligible for admission, other than the fact that they are good at whatever sport they compete in. This must stop.

This is not a hit piece on Athletes (I am a 3 season athlete myself), this is a wake up call to taxpayers that the quality of Officers our academies produce is going to lower if we practice the same Athletic cult that the rest of America's higher education has been brainwashed into loving. Also, the taxpayers should feel scammed by these Athletes that take advantage of this policy due to the fact that they just picked up a $400,000 education bill and duped out of a quality active duty officer.

Please let me know what you guys think, and if there are any Recruited Athlete apologists out there, how can you justify this policy that lets individuals waste the taxpayer's money and SA cadet/midshipman slot?
 

Old Navy BGO

5-Year Member
I will take a bite.....

I agree that NCAA inter- collegiate sports should not define a Service Academy, or any other college for that matter. I am also concerned when I see where standards are adjusted to facilitate admission or retention of an athlete. That being said, there is certainly a place for intercollegiate athletics at USNA, and I have nothing but respect for the many student athletes that attend and successfully manage the demands put on them. Plebe year is tough enough, but add in the commitment to practice and competition, and the absences for travel, and you have an extremely difficult program. There is a reason that many of the athletes go on to excel in the Fleet.

This may come to a surprise to many who think that I am conservative and old school, but I also do not have any problem with SECNAV granting a waiver to those exceptional athletes that have a chance of making it in the big leagues under exceptional circumstances. David Robinson was an underclass while I was at USNA. I did not know him personally, but by all accounts he was a model Midshipman and representative of the Naval Academy. He didn't come to USNA expecting to be a pro-basketball player, but evolved into one of the best of his era. When he graduated, he was a role model and often visited intercity schools in uniform. I would argue that he probably did as much for his country that way as many other grads do serving in the Fleet. He was an exceptional individual, and fully support giving people like that the opportunity to pursue pro sports. That being said, his situation is the exception rather than the rule, and I trust SECNAV to make the right decision.
 

kappapa

Member
I will take a bite.....

I agree that NCAA inter- collegiate sports should not define a Service Academy, or any other college for that matter. I am also concerned when I see where standards are adjusted to facilitate admission or retention of an athlete. That being said, there is certainly a place for intercollegiate athletics at USNA, and I have nothing but respect for the many student athletes that attend and successfully manage the demands put on them. Plebe year is tough enough, but add in the commitment to practice and competition, and the absences for travel, and you have an extremely difficult program. There is a reason that many of the athletes go on to excel in the Fleet.

This may come to a surprise to many who think that I am conservative and old school, but I also do not have any problem with SECNAV granting a waiver to those exceptional athletes that have a chance of making it in the big leagues under exceptional circumstances. David Robinson was an underclass while I was at USNA. I did not know him personally, but by all accounts he was a model Midshipman and representative of the Naval Academy. He didn't come to USNA expecting to be a pro-basketball player, but evolved into one of the best of his era. When he graduated, he was a role model and often visited intercity schools in uniform. I would argue that he probably did as much for his country that way as many other grads do serving in the Fleet. He was an exceptional individual, and fully support giving people like that the opportunity to pursue pro sports. That being said, his situation is the exception rather than the rule, and I trust SECNAV to make the right decision.
Anecdotes do not justify ripping off the taxpayer. The article I linked and the point of my short essay was to point out the troubling trend towards prioritizing and rewarding athletics for athletic's sake alone. I do not see the pay out for 'exceptional athletes' being able to skip out on their commitment, no matter how good they are at the academy.
 
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parentalunit2

5-Year Member
Ummm, Google may be your friend. Dave Robinson – best case scenario of someone getting out due to athletics. Trent Steelman – worst case scenario of someone getting out due to athletics. Kappapa – I agree with you. I do not believe anyone should ever be let out of their commitment due to athletics.
 

kappapa

Member
Ummm, Google may be your friend. Dave Robinson – best case scenario of someone getting out due to athletics. Trent Steelman – worst case scenario of someone getting out due to athletics. Kappapa – I agree with you. I do not believe anyone should ever be let out of their commitment due to athletics.
I apologize I accidentally quoted you the first time.
 

Sydney C.

5-Year Member
I'll take a bite as well but with a different twist.

Like Old Navy BGO, I also believe that there is a place for intercollegiate athletics of all sorts at USNA and am an avid fan as well as supporter while at the same time also taking note of some good points you've brought up. Having said that, my question would be do the athletics at the SA's have to be at the DI level?

I played varsity football in college at the DIII level without the sports scholarship and enjoyed it immensely. We played some pretty high quality schools e.g. Carnegie Mellon, Tufts, Amherst, MIT etc. over those years, and we had a more than a few above average men and women players participate in a variety of sports a few of whom could have played at DII as well as DI but none that got in to those schools for their athletic prowess.

IF that were changed, would it diminish Army, Navy, Air Force in some way...any way? Does that then neutralize the argument made Kappapa as none of those factors come into play at the DIII level? I don't know the answer to that of course but would like to hear a counterpoint to what I'm suggesting as I fear I'm missing something larger in this that escapes me.
 

NTWLF ONE

Member
The problem with the waiver..." they will meet their obligation in the reserves.." is that these kids have no primary warfighting designator. They will never drive a ship or sub and they certainly won't fly an airplane..as a result there is nothing really for them to do in the reserves because they have zero tactical experience...and as a result no credibility...
 
Having said that, my question would be do the athletics at the SA's have to be at the DI level?
My question as well. The academies are stellar academic institutions, why not compete with Tufts, MIT, the Ivies, etc. Lets shoot for academic dominance instead of athletic. Plus, very few football programs make money for the college, nor does playing in bowl games (you can Google this research). Unless there is outside money offsetting the costs at the academies, I'm guessing the academies aren't one of those schools.
Will the academies lose some students? Sure, but they're only going to sports and can be replaced by someone else in the waiting line. And it's stop things like USAFA playing in the Arizona Bowl.
 

Old Navy BGO

5-Year Member
Kappapa -- I went back and looked at your article, and then found further information on the wording of the new DOD policy. (I didn't find the actual DOD Instruction, which would be extremely helpful, as one of my old law professors would admonish -- "keep reading ..."). It does appear that this new policy is intended to ease the path to the pro's , or worse , intended to be used as a recruiting tool for high school athletes. IF that is the case, I disagree wholeheartedly with the policy. That being said, I stand by my belief that it may be appropriate to waive the active duty service obligation in circumstances, like David Robinson and Keenan Reynolds, but that should be an extremely rare event and left soley to the discretion of SECNAV. That policy has worked fine for years...and there is no reason to adjust it to accomodate recruiting.
(As an aside,I don't think that the new policy is a blank check out of service as some articles suggest -- it is my recollection that SECNAV denied a high profile request this year , and it looks like the new policy was implemented last year).
 

billyb

5-Year Member
Let's be real about this..... anyone that is of serious high level D1 caliber looking at good chance of going pro is probably not going to be looking at a service academy. There are a very, very few that may develop into that caliber of athlete once at an academy. I don't see Navy basketball being in the mix to get the next Michael Jordan competing against Kentucky, Duke and UNC.

If it were only in very, very select circumstances then I think I am OK with letting someone out of active duty commitment to serve in the reserves in a PAO capacity. Do you think that David Robinson has brought more than $400k of free press to USNA? Do you think that some of these guys could reach out to the communities that they are playing in to inspire kids to one day serve either as enlisted or officer. I don't think they get off w/o commitment, just that they are used in a different capacity.

Is this any different than the cadet that I went to school with that didn't go to a unit following graduation (which was unheard of in my day unless you were a Rhodes Scholar, med school etc...), but went to grad school for Physics b/c he had a gift than pretty much nobody else had? The army utilized him different than others due to his unique academic gift.
 
Cardona is living the dream and inspiring people at NAPS. Chris Swain gave it a go for the Chargers.

Both of these gentlemen have inspired my future mid because of their skill and determination on the field. Is that inspiration worth $400k or changing the culture? I honestly don't think so.

What does impress me is that we have athletes who want to play sports who do, because of their love of what happens on the field. Saying any reserve officer won't ne respected seems short sighted to me. These men are strategic thinkers, able read the people around them and know how to put trust in a team and expect and command tbat trust returned.

Playing football is one thing, using it as a leadership tool is what makes SA football great.
 

NTWLF ONE

Member
Please re-read my post...I didn't say any reserve officer wouldn't be respected...I said those who go straight into the reserves without any tactical skill or experience will have no credibility, even as a recruiter...how do you discuss the goods, bads and others of a 7 month IO/WESTPAC deployment when you have never been on one?

Many reserve billets that provide value to the fleet are at the operational level of war...you can't progress to or fill one of those billets without first having tactical knowledge and skill in a primary war fighting discipline...
 

conrack

Member
I strongly agree that academy athletes should not be let out of commitments, they know the obligation they have and its an insult to the taxpayers who are shelling out upwards of half a million dollars to educate each cadet. And IMHO the service commitment should be raised to at least 8 years to be consistent with the payback for ROTC scholarships (2 FOR 1 rule).
 

kappapa

Member
Let's be real about this..... anyone that is of serious high level D1 caliber looking at good chance of going pro is probably not going to be looking at a service academy. There are a very, very few that may develop into that caliber of athlete once at an academy. I don't see Navy basketball being in the mix to get the next Michael Jordan competing against Kentucky, Duke and UNC.

If it were only in very, very select circumstances then I think I am OK with letting someone out of active duty commitment to serve in the reserves in a PAO capacity. Do you think that David Robinson has brought more than $400k of free press to USNA? Do you think that some of these guys could reach out to the communities that they are playing in to inspire kids to one day serve either as enlisted or officer. I don't think they get off w/o commitment, just that they are used in a different capacity.

Is this any different than the cadet that I went to school with that didn't go to a unit following graduation (which was unheard of in my day unless you were a Rhodes Scholar, med school etc...), but went to grad school for Physics b/c he had a gift than pretty much nobody else had? The army utilized him different than others due to his unique academic gift.
I don't care about "inspiring" random athletes if they do not meet the high standards the academy demands, no exceptions. Yes, being further educated to serve as an officer is COMPLETELY different from going and playing a pro sport for an individuals own personal ambition. Total false equivalence. No amount of "press" is needed for the academies, those who are naturally drawn to leadership and higher commitments naturally are attracted to the academies. Referencing the athlete recruiting, you're right there aren't too many outstanding athletes that go to academies... so what is the point in investing so much in propagating such a large and utterly useless athletic base if they are not the creme of the crop anyway? It defeats the point you're trying to make. This is a clear cut issue, no nuance is needed. No athlete should shelve their active duty commitment to become a propaganda tool, much like how the Female Rangers are being treated.
 
I think it's safe to assume that this change was implemented because the academies were not being competitive and the sports powers thought that the change would get them better athletes to be more competitive in D1. So then, what happens in 10 years when the academies are probably still not competitive. Do they lower the entrance requirements for athletes from the current break they get? Somewhere in the power structure are people who are enamored with sports and place a great emphasis on accommodating coaches' and alums requests to get a more competitive team, and have a pipe dream that we'll go back to the 40s, 50s, and early 60s to have a Top 10 team and a Heisman candidate. The money is too big now for a kid to risk potential wealth by selecting an academy over a powerhouse like Stanford, Cal, ND, MW, etc. (assuming they are academic achievers). I'll be interested to see what happens at USAFA because the football coach Troy Calhoun is a good coach and underpaid. IF he leaves, will USAFA pony up the necessary increased dollars for a new coach?
 

kappapa

Member
I think it's safe to assume that this change was implemented because the academies were not being competitive and the sports powers thought that the change would get them better athletes to be more competitive in D1. So then, what happens in 10 years when the academies are probably still not competitive. Do they lower the entrance requirements for athletes from the current break they get? Somewhere in the power structure are people who are enamored with sports and place a great emphasis on accommodating coaches' and alums requests to get a more competitive team, and have a pipe dream that we'll go back to the 40s, 50s, and early 60s to have a Top 10 team and a Heisman candidate. The money is too big now for a kid to risk potential wealth by selecting an academy over a powerhouse like Stanford, Cal, ND, MW, etc. (assuming they are academic achievers). I'll be interested to see what happens at USAFA because the football coach Troy Calhoun is a good coach and underpaid. IF he leaves, will USAFA pony up the necessary increased dollars for a new coach?
For what pay out? How in any way does this benefit the military/taxpayers? This is just coddling to the people who are obsessed with Collegiate sports (like you said), there is no logical or economic benefit, just more "muh competition with civilian schools". By the way, people need to realize that it is not a sound argument to say "The best athletes still go to the better athletic institutions in order to go pro" because that means the SAs are recruiting (giving appointments to athletes solely based on their athletic merit, and nothing else) subpar athletes at the expense of the military. You're right when it comes to who really wants this; a bunch of baby-boomer grads/sports faculty who are apart of the Athletic Department cult that plagues the U.S. This policy attracts those athletes who know they are not good enough for regular college teams, but still know they can scam a free education with the prospect of not fulfilling the commitments that come with said free education.
 

billyb

5-Year Member
This will be my last post on this subject. Kappapa, you sure seem to know what is best for our military and academies when you haven't even started at one yet. It is fine to have opinions, but take a deep breath and step-back.

You are making assumptions about what makes the best officer. Don't you think that someone that is at a very high level of athletics (not varsity high school, but national level) translates pretty well into the grind and mental toughness that a combat arms officer needs? Also, there are many grads that don't do great at an academy academically, but then go on to fantastic military careers. It's not all about stats.

I hope everyone has a great weekend!
 
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