Air Force's superintendent has asked for an investigation by the Inspector General of the school's athletic department after allegations of drug use and sexual assault by athletes at the school.
The information comes in a report from the Colorado Springs Gazette on Sunday which was compiled from a Freedom of Information Act request and multiple interviews. According to the report, more than a dozen "problem cadet athletes" have left Air Force in the past three seasons.
"These efforts will help in eliminating subcultures . whose climates do not align with our institutional core values," Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson said in a statement released Thursday exclusively to The Gazette. Johnson said the academy has taken steps to correct the problems within the athletic department. "Despite all of our efforts, I expect we'll still have issues with a few young people who will make poor choices," she wrote.
Johnson became the academy's superintendent in August 2013.
According to the report, the incidents were fostered by "a culture that insiders say was driven by hands-off management and a willingness to accept risky athletic recruits in a bid to win on game day." The report also details cheating and an economics class created for two basketball players.
Last year, Air Force's football team was 2-10.
The report describes a party in December of 2011 where cadets used synthetic marijuana and where there were allegations of gang rape. When reports of the party surfaced, the AFA's Office of Special Investigations were in the midst of an investigation of 32 cadets, including 16 football players.
While no charges came directly from the party, two football players were subsequently court-martialed, sentenced and discharged and three others were punished and dismissed. Plans for a follow-up sting party were in the works for January 2012, however they were tossed due to concerns of sexual misconduct.
Two football players were dismissed in 2013 for sexual misconducts; LB Jamil Cooks and WR Anthony Daniels. In February 2012, a female cadet said Cooks forced her into sex acts in a dorm room in May 2011.
Air Force coach Troy Calhoun said he wasn't told of the allegations until July 2012. Later that year, allegations that Cooks entered another woman's dorm room surfaced.
The Air Force Academy's rate of sexual assault reports is higher than those of the Army and Navy service academies, however officials cited in the report say it's because of a higher reporting rate rather than a higher crime rate. In 2003, a sexual assault scandal enveloped the academy after over 20 female cadets came forward with allegations of sexual assault.
Now, thanks to the new allegations of misconduct, officials at Air Force say they are reacting with new recruiting standards.
Calhoun said his coaches are taking a deeper look at the character of recruits. Teachers, school janitors, parents and neighbors are quizzed about the background of prospective athletes, he said. On character issues, anything less than perfection is a no-go, he said.
And coaches are on notice that if they turn a blind eye to a recruit's flaws or an athlete's misbehavior on or off the field, consequences will be swift.
"If you're an enabler in any way, if you're tolerating - that's out of line," Calhoun said. "You're not going to work here."
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