Air Force draft hopeful Jalen Robinette required to serve on active duty

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Air Force receiver Jalen Robinette was expected to be drafted today, but a policy preventing him from deferring military service may change that.

The Air Force Academy said in a statement that Robinette or any other player drafted will be required to serve on active duty for two years, meaning his NFL career wouldn’t be able to start until the 2019 season at the earliest.

“The Air Force notified Academy officials [Thursday] that the service would not approve requests to waiver active duty military service commitments for cadet athletes,” the statement said, via the Denver Post. “Cadets will be required to serve two years active duty prior to entering Ready Reserve status, which would permit their participation in professional sports. The Air Force places tremendous value on our cadet athletes and their contributions to the nation as we continue to build leaders of character, engage in combat operations overseas and continue to ensure our highest military readiness at home.”

Last year the Department of Defense adopted a new policy that allowed service academy athletes to serve in the reserves, rather than active duty, so that they could begin their athletic careers immediately after graduating. That policy worked out well for Ravens receiver Keenan Reynolds and long snapper Joe Cardona, both of whom were allowed to go straight from the Naval Academy to the NFL.

But the policy handled players’ requests on a case-by-case basis, and while the Naval Academy allowed Reynolds and Cardona to play, the Air Force Academy is not allowing Robinette to play. Barring a change in policy, Robinette won’t play in the NFL until 2019.

26 responses to “Air Force draft hopeful Jalen Robinette required to serve on active duty

  1. Why do our service acadamies still have a football team? They cant compete with civilian programs. Back in the 1920’s Army was decent. 2020’s theyll never win anything with 210 lb D-linemen.

  2. Seems like a major PR mistake by the Air Force. His story could serve as free recruitment advertising to millions of viewers each Sunday.

  3. leolad72 says:
    Apr 29, 2017 12:54 PM
    Why not let him serve his 2 years when he is done with the
    —-

    What if he suffers a serious injury that not only ends his NFL career, but affects his overall physical ability afterward? He might not be able to serve.

    Sorry, but he knew what he was signing up for when he agreed to go to a service academy. He’s not the first guy to be in this situation.

  4. He got a college education at the taxpayer’s expense. He went there to be an Air Force officer first and a football player second. It’s time for him to fulfill his end of the bargain. I’m sure he will with no complaint.

  5. I do feel a little bad for the kid. After West Point allowing 2 players to serve their time in the reserves last year so they could go to the NFL this guy probably figured he’d be given the same chance. But as has been said, he knew the risks when he accepted a free college education from the Air Force and when he signed on he had no reason to believe he was likely to be given the Reserve option. Plus, to be honest a career in the Air Force as an officer can be VERY rewarding both professionally and financially. Whatever he winds up doing I hope his career is very successful.

  6. He got four free years of taxpayer-paid education. I think he owes taxpayers something back, and I don’t mean a ticket straight into the NFL!

  7. My brother did it & ended up staying in 26 yrs. Now he gets over $3,000 retirement check every month with benefits.

    He wasn’t a football player though. He was army.

  8. He was paid while receiving a completely free education followed by a guaranteed career with good pay and more education. He signed a contract for five years service after graduating. He should be ashamed if he doesn’t honor his commitment. The Naval Academy is wrong.

    If he wanted NFL he should have gone to a different school.

  9. As a still serving veteran, I agree with the Air Force. I get that it’s the NFL and a dream for many, but you made a commitment to the Air Force and to the citizens of this amazing country. We should always honor that commitment and be proud of ourselves and let the rest come and go as it can. My dreams were not nearly as ambiguous, however I honored my commitment and am very proud of that. This young man needs to understand how much we appreciate his sacrifice and remember that it’s just that; a sacrifice. You agreed to sacrifice certain aspects of life to serve. Don’t get upset when you’re called to do so. Thank you for your service Mr. Robinette and know that you have the gratitude of many.

  10. PR mistake my tired ***.
    Tax payers & the US military did not pay for and train this guy to be a glorified “spokes model”.
    The NFL can wait. He made a commitment to more important duties.
    Confusing that with a game is pathetic.

  11. He will be a much more mature well rounded person who​ will​ make big money, go on to a great civilan career an live hapeir ever after. He has a lot gong for him.

  12. Our military spending tops $660 billion. The country with the next highest total, China, spends 1/3 of that amount. As a taxpayer, I’m fine with him going to the NFL next year. That’s my vote.

  13. The USAF got it right. There should be no exceptions or any kind of swap to the reserves. That is not what he got trained for. He got an education so that the USAF could get an active duty officer for a set period of time and possibly longer if the service and member choose. Football is secondary and I am almost certain it was secondary when that young man chose to go to the AFA and it likely still is.

  14. The military will make him a better man with a better understanding of what is important in life.

    A game is not important but making a difference in the world is.

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