It seems like the question comes up nearly every year. It needs to be resolved once and for all.
Athletes who attend service academies either should or shouldn’t be allowed to defer their service obligations to pursue careers in pro sports. Whatever it is, the various institutions — West Point, the Naval Academy, and the Air Force Academy — need to select a lane and stay in it.
Navy defensive back Cameron Kinley, barred from deferring his service obligation for a shot at the NFL, has become the latest example of the wishy-washy nature of the service academies. Over the past several years, the rule has changed and re-changed and changed again. Someone needs to make a rule and stick with it.
Most importantly, every kid with high-end athletic talent who accepts an appointment to a service academy should know the rules before he or she signs on the dotted line. It’s only fair. Whatever the rule, the athletes need to know it, and the service academies need to honor it.
Honor. That’s a word that gets thrown around all the time at military schools. There’s nothing less honorable than a constantly moving target.