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Report: Air Force’s football and athletics culture requires a deeper investigation

AFA FOOTBALL

Disturbing findings within the Air Force athletics culture will lead to a more thorough examination of the program, including the football team. An investigative report by The Gazette found Air Force cadet athletes violated the academy’s honor code by committing sexual assaults, drug use, cheating and more. At the same time, an apparent concern over winning football games and raising more money from alumni donors took preference over taking action against the student-athletes. Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson informed The Gazette the Inspector General has been requested to conduct a deeper investigation of the athletic department.

The biggest part of the report centers around a wild party from 2011, which resulted in the probing of 32 cadets. The party reportedly involved to rampant drug use and alleged date rape drinks leading to sexual intercourse. Half of those questioned (16) about the activities at the party were members of the Air Force football team. Three of the 32 questioned cadets would later be court-martialed, sentenced and discharged, including a pair of football players. Two more football players received administrative punishment and were dismissed. Air Force’s athletic director, Hans Mueh, claimed to not know anything about the 2011 investigation conducted by the Office of Special Investigations until after Air Force played in the 2011 Military Bowl in Washington D.C. (a 42-41 loss to Toledo). The football players involved with the questioning in the investigation played in that bowl game.

Another investigation into activities of football players was later labeled a success by OSI. According to the report, OSI special agent Brandon Enos helped lead Operation Gridiron at the United States Air Force Academy, which identified and removed a total of 18 football players from the program as a result of their involvement in various drug-related use and distribution and sexual assaults.

The damage does not end there for Air Force, at least as far as football is concerned. More details from the investigative report suggest Air Force allowed students to enroll at the academy that did not meet the honor code, many coming after 2008 following the hiring of head coach Troy Calhoun. Calhoun is among the highest paid employee at Air Force. Mueh again falls under scrutiny for allowing standards to be lowered in athletics with regard to the honor code.

There is also the connection to Lt. General Mike Gould, who was in his position during the time of much of the reported misconduct at Air Force. According to the report, Gould emailed instructions to someone tied to a raid on Air Force dorms for suspected drug use demanding a short report lacking enough details to avoid an increased concern to the Pentagon. Why is this rather significant?

And now the College Football Playoff has its first scandal in need of addressing. That is important on a smaller scale though, of course. For now, the concern needs to be placed on the Air Force athletics department. This comes at a time when the actions within the nation’s military has fallen under tighter scrutiny in recent years with issues like hazing and sexual assault. All services and academies continue to face their issues and sometimes ripping off the band-aid is what is needed for sweeping changes to be made.

You can read the entire investigative report for more information and details regarding various concerns within the Air Force athletics community.

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6 Responses to “Report: Air Force’s football and athletics culture requires a deeper investigation”
  1. damoufofdabury says: Aug 3, 2014 12:31 PM

    Reblogged this on Official Site of Joe Bombo and commented:
    Air Force players get court martialed, causing, bringing unwanted attention to the prestigious organization….Read More

  2. raysfan1 says: Aug 3, 2014 1:14 PM

    I am a retired USAF officer. The situation must be investigated thoroughly by the IG. Everyone who either has had a hand in illegal activity or acted in any way to cover it up must be brought to account, irrespective of rank or embarrassment to the service.

    Every one of us who has ever donned an Air Force uniform has had the core values of service before self, integrity, and excellence in all we do drilled into us. Those, and the Airman’s Creed, are not just platitudes. We mean them. 99.99+% live by them.

    What happens at our service academy reflects on the entire Air Force, even though the majority, including me, are not USAFA alumni. We cannot allow a small minority of people through their illegal or immoral actions to damage our reputation as a whole…especially over something as inconsequential as sports. All who join the military are held to a higher standard, and that is as it should be.

  3. planecrashguy says: Aug 3, 2014 1:24 PM

    Very sad, even if only partially true. The service academies are the last bastion of the true student-athlete in 1A football, hate to see them go the way of all the others.

  4. irishlad19 says: Aug 3, 2014 4:01 PM

    This reads like a Power Conference football factory team, not a Service Academy.
    Some heads should roll, maybe some senior officer court martials.

  5. ducksk says: Aug 3, 2014 11:07 PM

    Sad day.

  6. dmvtransplant says: Aug 7, 2014 9:49 AM

    Glad to see the football culture at universities isn’t just for everyone except the service academies.

    Now maybe, people that come on here and talk down to everyone about how Academies are different from “other schools” will realize there is no difference. Lowering the academic standards, letting players use drugs and covering up crimes is striaght out of the Urban Meyer handbook on running a D-1 program.

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