Regardless, we can (and do) still have opinions on cadets getting drafted after graduation (and the Army's subsequent reluctance to release them from a 3-year service contract).
To give you a bit of background, West Point cadets receive a college education, paid in full, in exchange for military service after graduation. They are also required to participate in some form of competitive athletics. The school is most well-known for their football team. Go Army! Beat Navy!
And Navy has been, since 1890, their long-standing rivalry. But not so long ago...in 2007, as a matter of fact, Army took the DoD's policy regarding cadets drafting into the NFL into their own hands. They issued a statement saying that graduates would be allowed to enter the draft and, if chosen, transfer to a duty station within the team's city. Their 3 years of active duty would be replaced with 6 years of reserve duty and they could henceforth enjoy the best of both worlds.
Then the fit hit the shan...as they say.
Former graduates argued that West Point is not a training ground for future professional athletes...it is a system of education that results in the top gun of military leaders. If the boys want to play ball, then they should have applied to Michigan. And I have to say, I certainly understand the logic behind their argument.
On the other hand (yes, there is always an other hand), winning football games is just as effective at boosting morale as a successful military strike. But what high school Friday night hero is going to apply to a school that will guarantee his football career ends in 4 years? The force must be strong to walk away from a chance at the pros in order to walk toward a trip to war. Army recruiters are wise and relentless...but even they would have difficulty bringing in top-notch talent. The only viable solution is a hybrid of policies, which would allow cadets the opportunity to enter the draft, in exchange for a longer service contract or an agreement to recruit for the Army after X amount of years. Can you imagine the size of a boot camp class that had just been recruited by Tim Tebow?
I'm not sure what the right answer is. But Army hasn't found it yet. And whatever is decided, it must originate with the Department of Defense or you have Army playing by one set of rules with Navy playing by another. My personal opinion is that if a cadet is successful enough to warrant a first or second round draft pick, then let them go. They will only spend the next 3 years wishing they were on the playing field instead of the battle field. That's not the kind of Soldier I want as my husband's battle buddy. Perhaps even establish a policy that says they must take the millions they are making in the NFL and pay back their college education...so that someone who can't throw a ball but can lead troops across Afghanistan can be a West Point grad, too.
What do you think is fair? Should West Point grads go straight to war, without passing go or collecting $200? Should Army even have a football team?