Donald Trump in Favor of Service Academy Athletes Delaying Active Duty to Go Pro

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMay 6, 2019

President Donald Trump accepts a jersey from Army running back Darnell Woolfolke Army during the presentation of the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point football team in the Rose Garden of the White House, Monday, May 6, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Alex Brandon/Associated Press

President Donald Trump wants athletes at service academies to have the opportunity to play professional sports before their active-duty service requirements start. 

According to Tom Schad of USA Today, Trump said as much Monday while the Army football team was visiting the White House to celebrate its 2018 Commander-in-Chief Trophy win. He called it "a great idea" and suggested it would help Army coach Jeff Monken on the recruiting trail.

However, Schad noted the Pentagon announced it will maintain its policy that requires graduating athletes from military service academies to serve at least two years of active-duty military service.

That Trump came out in favor of allowing service-academy athletes the chance to go pro and delay their active duty is ironic because the current policy was implemented during his presidency.

The Department of Defense instituted a rule under President Barack Obama in 2016 that allowed service-academy athletes to do exactly what Trump advocated for on Monday. However, then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis reversed that policy a mere four months after Trump's inauguration.

Army may not need much help on the recruiting trail after a 2018 campaign that saw it finish 11-2 with a convincing victory over Houston in the Armed Forces Bowl.

It won the Commander-in-Chief Trophy with victories over Air Force and Navy and has won a bowl game three straight years for the first time in program history.

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