Report alleges some Army football players not held to same standard as other cadets
By SAL INTERDONATO | The Times Herald-Record, Middletown, N.Y. (Tribune News Service) | Published: December 23, 2017
The Army football team and the United States Military Academy have come under fire for the second time in two weeks after another report by The Daily Beast was released Friday, accusing West Point of letting its "most high-profile players operate under a different set of rules than typical cadets."
The report cites "failing classes, openly disregarding rules and avoiding discipline" among the academy's football players.
Army plays in its second straight postseason game Saturday when it meets San Diego State in the Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth, Texas. Army defeated Navy, 14-13, on Dec. 9 to win its first Commander in Chief's Trophy since 1996. The Black Knights are seeking the second 10-win season in academy history.
The Daily Beast said it viewed internal e-mails stating football players frequently required special summer courses to maintain eligibility.
According to the report, 11 members of the football team attended a house party at an Airbnb rental in Garrison, leaving post without permission, and some had violated restrictions, the report says. The rental was vandalized, according to the report. Captains Ahmad Bradshaw and John Voit are listed in the report as attending the party.
The Daily Beast also reported that senior wide receiver Jeff Ejekam missed the first two games of the season stemming from an arrest in June for driving while impaired in North Carolina. Eight Army football players have been enrolled in the Academy Substance Abuse Program since August, the report says.
Lt. Col. Chevelle Thomas, an academy spokesperson, told The Daily Beast when addressing the players failing classes and other accusations, "USMA reiterates that the information alluded to was illegally obtained and represents a grave breach of the privacy of the young men and women who have volunteered to serve their nation in harm's way upon completion of USMA's rigorous leader development program. The disclosure of any of the information cited is in blatant violation of federal law."
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The helmet bearing the logo of the U.S. Army's 10th Mountain Division sits on the snow-dusted turf of Lincoln Financial Field where the 118th Army-Navy game took place on Dec. 9, 2017. Reports allege that West Point is allowing some players to "operate under a different set of rules than typical cadets."
MICHAEL S. DARNELL/STARS AND STRIPES