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Should service academy athletes be allowed to delay their required service if they make a pro team ?

WCDawgWCDawg Posts: 13,128 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate

This is in the news today. Trump is considering allowing service academy athletes to serve their military requirements after their athletic careers are over. at least he said he is.

First off I'm not sure if it's in his power to do so directly, but I'm guessing he has the influence to get it done.

I'm not sure how I come down on this. On one hand they made an agreement to serve, on the other hand, it's a lot to give up.

Thoughts ?



  • dawgnmsdawgnms Posts: 1,609 mod

    I remember when David Robinson was playing basketball at the Naval Academy and he was let out of his obligation to serve because his training was as a submarine officer and he was TOO TALL to serve on a sub, so on he went to the NBA millions of $$$$.

  • YaleDawgYaleDawg Posts: 1,173 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate

    He is the Commander and Chief, so he can probably make this decision without congressional input. It's not like it's a big deal either way.

  • donmdonm Posts: 8,671 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate

    It might be a plus to get a more mature officer as opposed to a 21-22 year old.

  • WCDawgWCDawg Posts: 13,128 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate

    Yale. It's only a big deal to those players and maybe all of those who have to fulfill their service agreements. Is it fair to single out a few to make an exception for ? What if another cadet is offered a high paying job, should they also get a deferral ? It brings up old questions about deferrals and maybe faking medical problems,etc to avoid the draft.

  • WCDawgWCDawg Posts: 13,128 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate

    Dawgyms, I remember that, I'm guessing it occurred to The Admiral well before his time to serve came.

  • KaseyKasey Posts: 7,297 mod

    I think it's a good thing. If anything it's free advertising for the armed services.

  • BankwalkerBankwalker Posts: 3,130 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate
    edited May 6

    I don’t mind it. They bring attention, and hopefully, prestige to the institutions. Put a price tag on the value and let them reimburse the amount.

    If more players thought they could retain the option to go pro then I’d bet those athletic teams would recruit at a much higher level. As we know, most don’t go pro so the overall benefit is to the armed services.

  • dradcliffdradcliff Posts: 234 ✭✭✭ Junior

    No. All service academy cadets go to school for free on tax payer money. The catch is they have to serve upon graduation. Athletics is secondary. That's how it should be.

  • clemtigerclemtiger Posts: 109 ✭✭ Sophomore

    Nah. On one hand it is excellent PR for the military. But say someone plays 20 years in MLB. Are they going to start their service then? Also, where do we draw the line? There are more sports than the NFL, the NBA and MLB. There are Olympic and minor sports. What if "pursuing a professional sports career" is just a ruse for not fulfilling your service mandate? On the other hand, if you limit it to the major sports, that's unfair to .... professional badminton players. (Seriously. It is.)

    So no. If you want to play professional sports you transfer to another school to play your senior year and pay back your service academy education from your earnings. If you don't make the league, you enter the service immediately as an enlisted person with a shot - but only a shot, no guarantees - at Officer Candidate School if you want to stick around for 20 years. If you don't want to stick around, then serve as an enlisted person for 8 years to pay back those 3 years of free education, which last I heard would cost $75-$100,000 for its equivalent at an Ivy League school.

  • tfk_fanboytfk_fanboy Posts: 1,421 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate


    and not like there isn't a precedent. didn't Joe Louis mostly box during his time in the service?

  • YaleDawgYaleDawg Posts: 1,173 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate

    I can see the issue of fairness but it's hard to fake your way out of service with pro sports. You'd have to get a team to sign you without being good enough to play as a pro. I don't see that happening. Also no getting out of the contract. 5 years active and 3 years in the reserves just like everyone else. They just serve later. As far as high paying jobs go they'll still be there after finishing in the military. The academies are incredibly prestigious, and graduates with good grades are highly sought after.

  • WCDawgWCDawg Posts: 13,128 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate
    edited May 6

    Yale. I didn't mean to imply it would be faking. I just meant to point out some of the history of inequity in who has serviced in the military and what their duties were.

    In The Revolutionary and Civil Wars the rich often paid others to fight in the place. In The Vietnam era It became acutely about those with power and connections and those without resources. If your Daddy was a big shot you could spend time in the reserves or get phony deferments, I heard of a case where a wealthy real estate developer in Brooklyn had the family doctor claim his son had bone spurs when he didn't.

    Would it be essentially fair to allow athletes an out just because they have a high dollar marketable skill ? It seems a bit like the rich son getting out of his military commitment.

  • YaleDawgYaleDawg Posts: 1,173 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate

    I get that argument and it was unacceptable that the elites could start a war and send the common folk to die while their sons were protected. I just see the pro athlete thing as a rare occurrence and they'll still have to serve once their career is done. I'd probably be fine either way, but I learn towards serving directly after graduation. It is the fairest option

  • WCDawgWCDawg Posts: 13,128 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate
    edited May 6

    Yale rare = elite ? that is where the convergence is with these other cases of deferments and other types of avoidances is to my way of thinking. Should smarter, faster, richer, better connected, etc influence what, when or where a person serves his commitment and last but not least, WHO SERVES ?

  • orlandoorlando Posts: 1,396 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate

    If a young man or woman joins the military then that is where their duty belongs and I for one am very thankful and proud of all the soldiers that protect our country.

  • tfk_fanboytfk_fanboy Posts: 1,421 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate

    the pro athlete exception would 1) apply to only a handful of people per year 2) create positive publicity

  • Dawg94Dawg94 Posts: 143 ✭✭✭ Junior

    I'm for it but I think the catch should be the player still has to report for duty 4 days out of every month the season is not going. That's 2 weekends out of the months they are not playing. Kind of a national guard thing

  • cf_ugamancf_ugaman Posts: 1,046 ✭✭✭✭ Senior
    edited May 7

    As a service academy grad...no. you know what you signed up for do what you owe then give it a shot... Or! I agree with @Wintonk which equates to about 250K...

  • deutcshland_dawgdeutcshland_dawg Posts: 550 ✭✭✭✭ Senior
    edited May 7

    from what i've seen its a great recruiting tool to have the service academy guys playing in the pros. Its recruiting for both the military in general and for the individual academy itself. When the players sign with a team they get moved to the reserves and serve their military obligation during the off season. Also good points above about the money situation. One of the easiest disciplinary measures is to withhold pay. So once someone is financially secure, aka millionaire, from outside resources the military usually separates them with or even without consent as they lose their ace in hole on keeping people in check. I knew a person whose mom won the lottery and he wouldn't take a single dime because he wanted to stay in.

  • TNDawg71TNDawg71 Posts: 1,052 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate

    For me, whatever is best for the service academies. If letting them go pro and serve after the fact allows the most highly qualified to attend without affecting the outcome of the greater good than let them go pro.

  • RxDawgRxDawg Posts: 837 ✭✭✭✭ Senior

    Meh... mole hill, I won't make it a mountain.

    I say leave it up to the military branch. They could keep them "enrolled" being an ambassador as they play for whatever professional sports team. If they want to.

  • donmdonm Posts: 8,671 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate

    I posted earlier that I think a pro sports career will produce a better officer candidate than coming straight out of an academy. Life experiences will be invaluable for such athlete/officers. I'm fine if they fulfill their commitment later than earlier.

  • clemtigerclemtiger Posts: 109 ✭✭ Sophomore

    Being a multi-millionaire pro athlete isn't exactly "life experience." You spend the season jetting around from place to place and much of the offseason training. Also athletes for the most part live around and socialize with other athletes and celebrities. So it isn't the "life experience" of being a family farmer - not that those exist anymore - or managing a Chik-Fil-A. It is an experience that only 5000-10000 Americans at any given time - MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL rosters plus the people on the PBA, WTA, ATP, PGA etc. tours who actually make enough to live on - can relate to and share in.

    So maybe send military academy graduates to spend 5-10 years as firemen, park ranges, police officers, teachers, car salesmen etc. but definitely not pro athletes as that is a distorting "life experience."

  • Stef_Lew_478Stef_Lew_478 Posts: 2 ✭ Freshman
    edited May 7

    You’re talking about so few people that this would be applicable to, so why not let them go pro?

  • Stef_Lew_478Stef_Lew_478 Posts: 2 ✭ Freshman
    edited May 7

    I’m a service academy grad, who’s still serving on active duty. As a teenager/young adult, athletics more than anything lead me to a service academy since the head coach’s of my sport recruited me there. So maybe that’s others motivations to sign up as well...

    Obviously, I grew somewhat fond of the military aspects since I’m still choosing to serve.

  • greshamdiscogreshamdisco Posts: 1,465 ✭✭✭✭✭ Graduate

    Yes. But they pay back tuition costs.

  • ChicagoDawgChicagoDawg Posts: 231 ✭✭✭ Junior

    No. The purpose of each Service Academy is to train Officers for our military. In return they provide an excellent education at no cost to the entrants in return for taking on the obligation to serve our country once the future Officer's undergraduate education is completed. Being an exceptional athlete is not a reason to delay fulfilling the obligation. If a standout athlete wants to be a professional, they should go to a program that is designed to prepare them for that undertaking and not take a place from a young person whose goal is to serve our country.

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