Kenneth C Griffin, a billionaire hedge fund manager, once said "my advice to every student who is trying to make a decision for the years immediately after graduation: take the opportunity that in your mind is the most rewarding, that you are most passionate about and that you find most interesting and save the rest of your life for being risk averse. Whatever you want to do, this is the time to pursue it. Twenty years from now, your freedom to take risks will be limited."
The following is the third of six parts that propose some approaches that could be taken to improve the competitiveness of Army football. Each can be implemented independently or together with all or some of the other approaches. Almost everything that can be done is within the decision making power of the USMA Superintendent. This one will probably require the approval of the Secretary of the Army.
This addresses the need to equalize the treatment of graduates of USMA regarding their ability to pursue alternatives after graduation.
For some time, USMA has allowed about a dozen top-level graduates each year to immediately enroll in a civilian graduate school. Some of this is associated with being named a Rhodes Scholar or another such award. These individuals then attend and complete their schooling before beginning their service commitments.
About another ten graduates a year are allowed to immediately attend medical school. After completing this, they then join the Army Medical Corps and complete their medical residences. They also incur an increased service obligation.
There are a handful of graduates, who because of physical or medical disqualifications, who do not serve on active duty after their graduation.
I believe that USNA and USAFA have similar programs.
Several years ago, Caleb Campbell was drafted in the later rounds of the NFL Draft. At the time, many believed that Army policy would allow him to immediately sign a pro contract and either pay the cost for his USMA schooling or defer his military service. We then found out, on the day he was to report to the Detroit Lions, that he had to first serve three years active duty.
Each year, there are a handful of USMA athletes who are drafted by the professional sports leagues. A few athletes each decade are able to join the Army's World Class Athlete program, which enables them to typically train and compete for Olympic sports while on active duty.
Many are drafted by the NFL, but few actually make the team. A typical NFL player may compete for only three or four seasons before retiring or being released.
While there have been a handful of athletics who had a successful professional career after serving their active duty obligation (Roger Staubach, for example), most would agree that there are more opportunities to succeed if pursued immediately after college.
It is time to equalize the treatment of all graduates.
For graduates who potentially may be signed to a professional athletic contract or other professional activity, they should be able to immediately do so and be able to spend about three years to pursue their dream.
Policies and procedures can be established to ensure that the USMA graduate satisfies his or her service obligations. They might follow something like this.
The officer would be put into an administrative status without pay for up to three years. Their clock on their five-year obligation would stop.
The officer may return to active duty, upon request, if the professional activity ends in the first two years, and complete their five-year active duty obligation with two years active or reserve status added.
Prior to the third year anniversary, the officer will submit a request for a change in status, depending upon the success of their professional career - (1) if continuing a very successful professional career - full payment of USMA education and five years service in a drilling status with the Army Reserve or Army National Guard: (2) if continuing a professional career - 50% payment of USMA education and ten-year service in a drilling status with the Army Reserve or Army National Guard; OR (3) if not continuing a professional career - 10% payment of USMA education and eight-year active duty service commitment.
... Stay Tuned For Part IV
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