Athletes at West Point get a pass on Iraq
See, if you had gone to West Point, you could be making millions and not training for Iraq.
Army will loosen rules
Pro-caliber athletes can get out early
By Justin Rodriguez
Former Army offensive lineman Joel Davis had three NFL teams seriously interested in him before the 1996 draft.
But each team kept asking Davis the same question: when will he be available to play? Maybe in half a decade.
Davis had a five-year military commitment to serve after graduating from West Point.
"I know I was fighting an uphill battle," Davis said. "But that hurt me. I couldn't really give them any answers. I think it hurt my chances."
Cadets like Davis may have a better chance at a professional career in the future.
A new policy is poised to go in place that could change the face of West Point athletics, allowing Army athletes in any sport who sign a pro contract to serve two years active duty and six in the reserves upon graduation. The proposal is expected to be approved by Army officials within weeks.
Former Army baseball/football player Josh Holden, an outfield prospect in the Cincinnati Reds organization, would be the first West Point graduate granted his release. He should finish his active duty on May 31. Reds assistant director of player personnel Grant Griesser expects Holden to report that day to Cincinnati's spring training facility in Sarasota, Fla. Holden used leave time to attend a portion of spring training.
"I've got most of the paperwork and it's signed by (Secretary of the Army) Francis J. Harvey," Griesser said. "It's a brand new policy. Josh has a dream of making it to the big leagues and we hope he gets to live it."
Holden, a 2003 West Point graduate serving at Fort Sill, Okla., could not be reached for comment. His father, Michael, said last night he is still waiting on official word from his son.
"As a parent, I'm torn by this," Michael Holden said. "I would like Josh to have this opportunity, but at the same time, I think about his military commitment."
According to Griesser, Holden, 24, will work with Army recruiters part-time for six years, visiting schools to speak with students and attending other recruiting functions. Griesser has contacted the Army recruiter in Sarasota to notify him Holden is on his way. Holden is expected to begin the year with the Gulf Coast Reds in Sarasota, where he batted .348 with 10 steals last year. If he's promoted, he will work with a recruiter in that city.
The idea of changing the five-year commitment for athletes was discussed in 2003 by the now defunct advisory panel put together by Army Superintendent Lt. Gen. William J. Lennox to resurrect the struggling football program. Members on the panel included Bill Parcells and former Nebraska football coach Tom Osborne.
Ok, you have 57 year old chopper pilots, men recalled to active duty after being out of the army for years, only because they didn't resign their commissions. Now, West fucking Pointers are being allowed to serve in cushy jobs so they can make millions.
Two words: Pat Tillman.
The Army should be ashamed of itself. They should have to at a minimum, serve in a combat unit before being allowed to sign a pro contract. Hell, even the Army isn't treating our wars like wars. If you want to be a pro, don't go to West freaking Point in wartime.
Update: You know, two days later, this still outrages me. I am still amazed that the Army can even think this is OK. It is just so fucking wrong. People should be flooding Congress with letters over this. They're ruining lives and marriages with IRR and Stop-Loss rcalls and this crap can go on.
It is just too goddamn wrong to go unremarked.
posted by Steve @ 2:35:00 AM