Let's read that entire post linked above:
We West Pointers howled when Napoleon McCallum got to play for the Raiders while still serving in the Navy, and when David Robinson was released early from his service commitment to play basketball. We saw honor when Chad Hennings served his time in the air force and then played for the Dallas Cowboys. How superior we felt to Navy.
Is West Point to become just another farm team for the pros, with recruiting being the excuse given?
It just got worse.
Army is offering its top athletes a side door to professional sports. West Point has implemented an alternative service option program that allows cadets to turn pro – and play – right away.
Cadets accepted into the program "will owe two years of active service in the Army, during which time they will be allowed to play their sport in the player-development systems of their respective organizations and be assigned to recruiting stations. If they remain in professional sports following those two years, they will be provided the option of buying out the remaining three years of their active-duty commitment in exchange for six years of reserve time."
The Air Force Academy and Naval Academy do not offer such a program. Both academies require two years of active service upon graduation before presenting the option of swapping the final three years of active time for six years in the reserves.
Recruiting duty is important, but please don't insult my intelligence by saying that these men (and potentially women) are performing a service to the army--especially one worth 6 figures, the cost of a West Point education--by playing pro sports. And those 6 figures don't include the incalculable opportunity cost of the loss of a potential highly trained officer who couldn't serve the army and the country because a future professional athlete got that slot at West Point.
From West Point's web site, here's the school's mission. Every plebe is required to memorize it:
"To educate, train, and inspire the Corps of Cadets so that each graduate is a commissioned leader of character committed to the values of Duty, Honor, Country and prepared for a career of professional excellence and service to the Nation as an officer in the United States Army."
Why memorize it when we don't uphold it? This program doesn't even uphold the values of Duty, Honor, Country.
It's a disgrace and an affront to everything I was taught there.
Update, 7/27/08: First the Army screwed up by telling this lieutenant he could play pro football. Then it compounded that screw-up by pulling the rug out from under him in full view of the sports-watching public:
The Army had initially said Campbell, a football standout who played for the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, could fulfill his military obligation by serving two years as a recruiter in his spare time. Academy graduates are usually required to serve five years...
But after a much publicized difference in policy between the Army and other services, Campbell's NFL dreams have been put on hold. The wartime exception for Campbell -- essentially his ticket out of joining the fight in Iraq -- rubbed many in the military the wrong way.
On Wednesday, the Army sent a letter to the Detroit Lions informing them that a change in Army policy means Campbell would have to cease getting ready to play for the football team.
Could they have screwed this up any worse?