One of the more eyebrow-raising headlines from the most NFL draft has added another layer.
Shortly before the start of the draft Thursday, and to the surprise of at least a couple of eligible players, it was revealed to NFL teams that Air Force would no longer approve requests from academy graduates to defer their two years of active duty service in order to be allowed to play professional football. Such a change effectively made players like Falcons wide receiver Jalen Robinette and, possibly, safety Weston Steelhammer undraftable.
A mini-imbroglio ensued, with the agent for one player impacted by the abrupt shift in policy hinting at a potential legal challenge.
Given the negative headlines the shift generated, Air Force felt compelled to issue another press release, if for nothing more than to inform the masses that the same policy applies to their service academy rivals as well.
Below is the latest release, in its entirety:
As released earlier today, the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) has rescinded the policy to allow cadet-athletes to apply for Ready Reserve status immediately after graduation to participate in professional activities/sports. The Air Force Academy released a statement from the Air Force prior to the NFL draft this week so NFL teams would be aware that the service would no longer support these requests and they could conduct their business in good faith, as Air Force Academy cadet Jalen Robinette was the lone NFL Draft prospect from any of the academies.
With the release of the new OSD policy which reverts back to all service academy graduates and ROTC members serving two years on active duty, all three service academies are under the same guidance moving forward. Air Force Academy cadets Jalen Robinette and Griffin Jax look forward to graduation and commissioning in May. Their conduct exemplifies the character and dignity one would expect from a soon-to-be Air Force second lieutenant. Both of these cadets remain in excellent standing at the Academy and should have an opportunity to pursue their professional athletic goals after serving two years as officers in the Air Force should they choose.
I guess if you have football talent, there’s almost always a spot for you somewhere.
The latest example of that phenomena is Auston Robertson, who was dismissed by Michigan State in April not long after word surfaced that the defensive lineman was facing charges of third-degree criminal sexual conduct. It’s alleged that Robertson sexually assaulted the victim in her apartment after being driven home from a party, with the lineman’s girlfriend waiting in the vehicle while the assault took place.
Despite the allegations and pending court case — Robertson is free on a $250,000 bond — the lineman will be permitted to continue his collegiate playing career at a Kansas junior college.
[Attorney Brent] Leder said Robertson had been given the opportunity to attend Garden City Community College in Kansas to play football and attend school. He said the school’s football coach knew the circumstances surrounding the situation and was willing to take on the responsibility of supervising Robertson’s movements.
Robertson would not use the move as an attempt to evade future court proceedings, Leder said.
“He’s here fighting these charges, and he will be at all future court dates,” Leder said.
While it’s certainly the most serious, this is not Robertson’s first brush with the law.
The lineman had been committed to the Spartans but did not sign with MSU in February of 2016 after he was charged with misdemeanor battery in his home state of Indiana. Robertson subsequently signed with MSU in late March of that year after he entered into a pretrial diversionary program, with the charge dropped a month later.
Prior to that, he had been charged with criminal mischief, damaging or defacing property and resisting arrest in a separate incident. Those charges were later dropped.
A four-star recruit, Robertson was rated as the No. 9 weakside defensive end in the country and the No. 3 player at any position in the state of Indiana. The only recruit in MSU’s class that year rated higher than Robertson was fellow four-star defensive end Josh King.
As a true freshman, he played in seven games.
One of the bigger intra-conference transfers this offseason is all but officially official now.
Word surfaced earlier in the day Tuesday that Darren Carrington had pulled the trigger on a transfer to Utah. Later on that night, the former Oregon wide receiver’s father confirmed to Lynn Worthy of the Salt Lake Tribune via email that, yes, his son will be playing for the Utes in 2017 as a graduate transfer.
From the Tribune:
The circumstances are definitely not what we planned,” Carrington wrote. “However we are so thankful to Coach [Kyle] Whittingham, Dr. Chris Hill-AD and the U of Utah, for providing darren with an opportunity to not only finish is college football career but also for him to be known not just for 2 bad decisions, but as a man of God. One who made some mistakes have learned from them and is now better as a result.
“Special shout out to OC [Troy] Taylor for being the catalyst.
Earlier this month, Oregon announced that it had dismissed Carrington, a move that came a couple of weeks after the senior was arrested on charges of driving under the influence of intoxicants.
The senior’s 606 yards receiving last year were tops on the Ducks, while his five receiving touchdowns were tied for first. His 43 catches were second on the team as well.
In mid-November of last year, Carrington caught a 17-yard touchdown pass with two seconds left that carried the unranked Ducks to a 30-28 win over the then-12th-ranked Utes 30-28 in Salt Lake City. October 28 of this year, Carrington will come “home” as Utah will travel to Eugene to take on the Ducks.
Steven Clark will indeed give college football at this level another go.
In a text message to the Syracuse Post-Standard, Clark confirmed that he has decided to transfer to Western Michigan. The move comes a little over a month after a health issue prematurely ended his time at Syracuse.
While the school’s medical results were disputed by his family, Clark (pictured, No. 72) was medically disqualified by ‘Cuse in June because of a genetic disorder that makes him susceptible to blood clots. Not long after, the defensive lineman stated on Twitter that he had “requested… permission to contact other schools in order to see if I can go anywhere else to play.”
According to the Post-Standard, “four independent doctors cleared Clark for physical activity — two before the disqualification and two after.” WMU doctors will need to sign off on Clark’s health as well.
If that happens, Clark would be eligible to play immediately for the Broncos.
The lineman ended his Orange career having played in 21 games, starting nine of those contests. He was credited with 37 tackles, three tackles for loss and a pair of fumble recoveries.
Coming to SU as a three-star 2015 recruit out of Alabama, Clark held offers from, among others, Florida, Memphis and Vanderbilt.
An incident involving one former Michigan State football player and one ex-Spartans basketball player continues to make headlines a year later.
In mid-July last year, former MSU hoops star hoops star and current Golden State Warrior Draymond Green was arrested and charged with assault following an altercation at an East Lansing drinking establishment. According to police reports at the time, the target of the alleged assault was Spartans cornerback Jermaine Edmondson.
Fast-forward a little over 12 months later, and Edmondson, along with his girlfriend Bianca Williams, has filed a civil lawsuit in California against Green. Per mlive.com, the attorney representing the plaintiffs “declined to specify an amount of damages her clients are seeking.”
“I think about what happened with Draymond every day,” Edmondson said according to the website. “I still feel his hand on my jaw. There are nights when I wake up crying. I don’t understand why my name has been turned into this joke, and he gets all this credit for being a superstar and for standing up for women.”
Less than a week after the incident, Edmondson, who claimed during today’s press conference he longer felt safe on the university’s campus because the incident involved the beloved Green, was granted a release from his MSU scholarship and transferred from the Spartans. Reportedly, however, the incident and transfer had nothing to do with each other.
Edmondson ended up at a Div. II program in Virginia, but did not play at all during the 2016 season.
Green ultimately saw the original assault charge dropped, instead paying a noise violation fine.
“Draymond looks forward to defending himself and clearing up the misinformation put forth today,” a portion of a statement from Green’s publicist read.