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PO1 Dominque A. Pineiro | Navy

10:04 pm | May 7th, 2019

Trump mentions waiver for service academy athletes

Jay Arnold

JayArnold

We try to stay out of politics here on the Other 98 (contrary to another website out there that shares our name) but United States president Donald Trump did make waves on Monday when he mentioned a waiver for service academy student-athletes that would allow them to put service on hold for a professional career in athletics. CNN had the story:

I personally like the idea of giving athletes the opportunity to chase a dream outside of the military so long as they honor their service commitment later on down the line in some fashion. Careers in sports are incredibly fleeting and I don’t see any reason to limit the time athletes have to compete even more but how would this impact the landscape of college football?

It’s no secret that the service academies generally aren’t able to recruit the same caliber of athlete as the elite football programs but that hasn’t stopped the academies from being able to surprise teams at times. The United States Naval Academy has had teams flirt with the top 25 in the past but the most recent example was Army in 2018.

The Black Knights suffered a defeat in their opening contest of 2018 when they lost to Duke on the road but nearly did the unthinkable and knocked off Oklahoma in Norman before succumbing to the Sooners in overtime. Army would then go on to win the rest of their 2018 contests capped off with a 70-14 thrashing of Houston in the bowl game.

The Black Knights get another chance to knock off a blue blood program when they travel to Ann Arbor to take on Michigan in 2019. With Trump’s proposed waiver, Army might be able to snag a few more high-caliber athletes, even though the service commitment and strict requirements will still keep some athletes away. Perhaps the opportunity to continue an athletic career after school could bring the academies back to athletic prominence though it’s doubtful the programs will reach truly elite status.

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