Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Is 20 seconds worth $127,000?

Annapolis thinks so.
First he was denied a diploma and kicked out of the Naval Academy six weeks before graduation because he failed a running test by 20 seconds.

Then he was offered a dubious opportunity for re-admission: He would need to divorce his wife to meet the academy's requirement that midshipmen be single.

This week, Frank Shannon learned that the appeal of expulsion he sent to the Navy secretary three months ago has apparently been lost. And he received correspondence from the Navy threatening to garnishee his wages to recover $127,000 it says he owes in repayment of his incomplete education.
Kafka University.

After letting female MIDN get a pass at false rape accusations, drug use, other fun stuff and treating steroid use like this go away with a slap of the hand;
The academy's hard-line stance with Shannon stands in stark contrast to its treatment of seven Navy football players who admitted using steroids in early 2005.

As revealed last week in The Sun, the athletes were restricted to their dorms for several weeks, a punishment normally reserved for minor conduct offenses. Only the two players caught through urinalysis tests administered by the National Collegiate Athletic Association were barred from playing in 2005, as required by the NCAA.
- look what kind of man they treat like scum.
He was class president, a member of the National Honor Society and a blue-chip offensive lineman at Eastern Technical High School in Essex when he applied to the academy.

Standing 6 feet 3 inches tall and weighing 245 pounds, Shannon turned down several football scholarships to enlist in the Navy after the academy rejected him. He spent two years as a sailor, then one more at a prep school before he finally got in.

Shannon is the first to admit that the physical rigors of academy life were tough on him.

He failed his biannual physical fitness test 12 of 18 times. He could handle the push-up and sit-up tests. But the distance run - where Mids have to cover 1.5 miles in 10 minutes and 30 seconds or less - killed him.

Shannon was put in a remedial program to help him meet the requirements, and always passed with coaching from friends, until the final test of his fall semester of 2005.

After failing several consecutive tests, the academy kicked him out. His final time was 10 minutes, 50 seconds.

With no commission, Shannon and his fiancee, Gloria Mangano, gave up their plan to wed June 10 at the academy chapel. Instead, they got married at a local church.
And people wonder why I weep for Annapolis.

There are good people out there though.
But shortly after The Sun published an article about Shannon in May, he was contacted by Joel Meredith, general manager of Siemens Building Technologies' Baltimore office.

Outraged by Shannon's story, and impressed that the former midshipman was an Eagle Scout, Meredith hired him as an apprentice engineer, the same job he could have had if he had received his degree.

"When I read the article, I was on a train headed to Washington for a Boy Scouts meeting," Meredith said. "I could see that it was somewhat ridiculous what happened to him."

While his job in a field with promising earning power has made things easier, the looming $127,000 debt - the Navy demands repayment of educational costs when a midshipmen is expelled - prevented the Shannons from securing a loan to buy a three-bedroom home in White Marsh. Now, they live in one bedroom at his in-laws' home in Baltimore County.
And how do you square the circle about the PRT when it looks like a slow running leader is less important than a lying one.
Two recent academy graduates, a man and a woman, said the problem is much more than a matter of perception, and the honor and conduct codes are applied inconsistently.

Speaking on the condition that their names not be used during Commissioning Week last month, the two said they saw an egregious violation of the honor code go virtually unpunished, because the offender was a woman.

She was a company commander and didn't take the physical readiness test, but lied and said she did, according to the two former mids, now junior officers.

Investigators recommended her dismissal, but Capt. Grooms overrode the decision because "she is a woman in power," and the Naval Academy is under pressure to recruit and retain female midshipmen.

Capt. Grooms gave the woman 25 days of restrictions, the former mids said, but most offenders would have gotten at least six months.
That would be RDML Grooms now. Ahem.

Oh, and that critical run Annapolis has impaled this young man and his family on? Read here
before you defend it.

Here is something that keeps eating at me. I know from good sources that Shannon has had trouble throughout his time at Annapolis - failing over a dozen PRT. Why now do they come down on him? Could it be that he was on the football team? For someone who spent over a decade playing football, one thing I do know is that linemen - like Shannon - are terrible runners. Horrible runners. Always at the end of a long run. They just are not built for it. Funny how when he was not longer a possible player - the rules became more important.

Another blot on an institution that deserves so much better. Watching USNA over the last couple of years is like watching an old girlfriend you once loved be beaten and abused by her husband - and you can do nothing about it. Breaks your heart.

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