The old Department of Defense Pro Sports Policy reads:And so it goes. Wave at it.
"Officers appointed from cadet or midshipman status will not be voluntarily released from active duty principally to pursue a professional sports activity with the potential of public affairs or recruiting benefit to the DoD during the initial 2 years of active commissioned service. A waiver to release a cadet or midshipman prior to the completion of 2 years of active service must be approved by the ASD. Exceptional personnel with unique talents and abilities may be authorized excess leave or be released from active duty and transferred to the Selective Reserve after completing 2 years of active commissioned service when there is a strong expectation their professional sports activity will provide the DoD with significant favorable media exposure likely to enhance national recruiting or public affairs."That essentially meant a service academy graduate would not be eligible to be placed on reserve status for the purpose of pursing pro sports until serving 24 months on active duty. But the policy, which was changed in May, now reads:
"A service member can request to be tendered an appointment in the reserve upon graduation and satisfy their commissioned service obligation in the Ready Reserve."
This has the tinge of fraud against the taxpayer, a clear waste of a spot at a Service Academy by someone who is actually primarily motivated to serve, and unquestionably an abuse of the integrity of the role Service Academies have in building leaders for our military.
This compromise is for one reason; so alumni can live vicariously through a young man’s game. If they wanted that “college” experience, then they should have gone NROTC.
If you are a football-uber-alles type, this may make you happy – but if you love what the Service Academies are supposed to be, then this should give you pause to think; what price football?
What else will USNA and the other Service Academies sell to feed their alumni's addiction? They sold the soul of NAPS long ago – now it is the service obligation. All for a game. This is not the action of a mission focused military institution.
Out of all 170 professional athletes produced by federal service academies, all of them but two have not fulfilled their two-year active duty commitments: Reynolds and Garrett Griffin.Does anyone really believe the soul-sucking, sea lawyeresque, slimy spin below?
Griffin is currently in limbo, as he already has his orders for the two-year active duty commitment.
Even Navy's Roger Staubach and David Robinson and Air Force's Chad Hennings served at least two years before turning pro.
"[Service academies] exist to instill young men and women with a mindset of selfless service to the country," retired Army Lt. Tom Slear wrote in a recent Post editorial. "There is no other justification for the significant public expense that supports them.
"Professional football, on the other hand, is about service to oneself. It has its place, but not for academy graduates who haven't fulfilled their obligations to their fellow citizens. Each time one of them leaves early, the ethos diminishes a bit, and the taxpayers are cheated."
The approximate price tag on a service academy education is $400,000.
"My view is we recruit cadets to come to the academy to develop over four years as leaders of character and then go out and serve our nation in the Air Force," Knowlton said. "There are many different ways that cadets can serve our nation."If so, I feel sorry for you.