Army football players among 73 cadets who cheated on calculus final exam in May

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Many of the Army West Point cadets who cheated on a calculus final exam in May are athletes at the school.

West Point officials said in a letter Wednesday that 55 of the 73 students who were caught cheating on the exam this spring were athletes. And among those 55, 24 are or were football players and 17 of those players are still on the team.

Some of the unidentified players caught cheating have played in football games this year because of an October rule change. And it’s possible that players implicated in the cheating scandal could also play on Thursday in the Liberty Bowl when Army takes on West Virginia.

From USA Today, which obtained a copy of the letter:

A few have played in football games this season after having been accused of cheating. Some of those players could dress and play in the Liberty Bowl on Thursday, according to Army Lt. Col. Christopher Ophardt, a West Point spokesman.

They're allowed to play because West Point's superintendent in October suspended a policy that limited or prevented cadets found in violation of the academy's honor code from representing the academy in public, including athletes at sports events.

The suspended rule would have made the players who were caught cheating on the exam ineligible to play after Nov. 30 when they were found guilty of cheating. The official punishment for everyone involved in the scandal is set to be finalized in January.

The calculus exam was administered remotely in May because of the COVID-19 pandemic and many of the students involved in the cheating were in their first year at West Point. According to a previous USA Today story, it’s the biggest known cheating incident at West Point since the 1970s.

Army was initially left without a bowl game despite going 9-2 during the 2020 regular season. The Black Knights have an agreement to play in the Independence Bowl but that game was canceled on Dec. 20 because there weren’t enough available teams to fill all the available bowl spots. That cancellation meant Army didn’t have a postseason game for a short time until Tennessee was forced to back out of the Liberty Bowl due to COVID-19 cases among its team.

The Army band march on to the field before the 121st Army Navy NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020, in West Point, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
Over a dozen cadets who cheated on a calculus exam are currently members of the football team. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

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