Should the Service academies allow players to go pro without serving obligation.
By Steve Samek
The Army- Navy game is one football fans always look forward to. The game is played by teams that hate each other on the field, but play for the same team off the field.
Though when the game is over most of these players go on to serve in the respected branch of the military for a certain number of years which can be outlined here. http://dopma-ropma.rand.org/military-service-obligation.html
Though last year Navy Quarterback Keenan Reynolds was selected by the Baltimore Ravens in the sixth round of the NFL draft. This made the Naval academy take a second look at its policy about deferring obligations until after pursuing a pro career. Reynolds was free to play in the NFL and pursue the obligation in the off season. https://www.fanragsports.com/news/ravens-wr-keenan-reynolds-not-impacted-dod-policy-change/
Now the order from 2016 was rescinded by Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis. Now requiring two years of active duty military service before being allowed to turn pro. Enter Air Force wideout Jalen Robinette. The wide receiver was looking at going pro, being projected as a mid to late round pick. Though after the policy was announced Robinette went undrafted. He currently hasn’t gotten any offers. Robinette also has received an initial duty assignment for after graduation. https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/draft/2017/05/01/department-defense-policy-athletes-air-force-jalen-robinette/101177766/?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzRss&utm_campaign=usatodaycomsports-topstories
The NFL does have a list for military service. https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/draft/2017/05/01/department-defense-policy-athletes-air-force-jalen-robinette/101177766/?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzRss&utm_campaign=usatodaycomsports-topstories
Ben Garland of the Falcons out of Air Force is currently under this protocol. Reynolds and two other players Garrett Graham and Chris Swain are both on practice squads after the 2016 ruling. Though Graham has orders for his assignment. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2016/07/12/military-academy-athletes-can-now-go-straight-to-the-pros/?utm_term=.fb800b6b26d9
To me country comes first. Especially over sports. They signed up to go to these schools knowing the commitment. The know full well that the service academies aren’t sports destinations. Only 84 NFL players have come from military schools and the rest of pro sports aren’t much higher. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2016/07/12/military-academy-athletes-can-now-go-straight-to-the-pros/?utm_term=.fb800b6b26d9.
Plus, its only two years and there is NFL protocol in place. Though I think there are ways that they can play in the NFL while serving a commitment to the military. Having a pro sports career after the military is possible. Rodger Staubauch and David “The Admiral” Robinson each served the required two years before successful pro careers. So it isn’t not impossible for Robinette to turn pro,but he should wait after the two years are up.
Shutout to the NFL for going along with the decision also. By having him undrafted they made a statement about following the rules and obligations.