Aug 3, 2014 7:42 PM by Greg Smith

Academy review to start with athletic department

Friday evening, news broke of criminal behavior and an investigation at the Air Force Academy tied to the athletic department. Here's the truth: All the misconduct in question happened before a vast majority of current athletes arrived on base, and has already been addressed and dealt with by the Academy.

Air Force Academy Superintendent Michelle Johnson sent out a letter informing community leaders, cadet parents, and alumni of a three year old investigation into not only criminal behavior, but of dangerous subcultures.

At a party in 2011, a group of cadets, many of them athletes, were accused of heavy drinking, smoking spice, and sexual abuse. Everyone found guilty either resigned, was court marshalled, or dismissed.

Now years later, Lieutenant General Johnson wants to ensure the type of behavior has been eradicated, not just in the athletic department, but everywhere.

"Hey, if it advances the institution, absolutely," says head football coach troy Calhoun. "Anything you can do to improve your school, and more importantly, leadership experience that the cadets have, I think you always want to be quite vigilant in that way."

Unfairly or not, it puts current athletes, especially football players, in the spotlight for something that happened when most of them weren't even enrolled.

"I hear it was something that happened when I wasn't even here," says Air Force Quarterback Nate Romine. "I was maybe a sophomore in high school, so it's kind of just over my head."

A source within the athletic department says a review has been ordered, but that reviews are very common, and it applies to the entire academy, not just athletics.

"Recognition of this prior misconduct has caused us to refocus on our culture and climate," says Johnson in a statement. "These efforts will help in eliminating subcultures at the Air Force's academy whose climates do not align with our institutional core values. Despite all of our efforts, I expect we'll still have issues with a few young people who will make poor choices."

Since the investigation, every athletic program has pledged more strict recruiting guidelines, and implemented programs and activities to raise awareness for causes like sexual abuse.

"You have to be a responsible young man or woman to go to school here," said Calhoun. "There's some pride involved in that too which is pretty cool."

The Falcon football team begins their season August 30th at home against Nicholls State.



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