Service academy athletes can delay service, turn pro

Posted at 11:39 PM, Nov 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-21 01:39:23-05

This past Friday, Defense Secretary Mark Esper signed a memo allowing athletes from military institutions to play professional sports after they graduate, with the ability to delay their active-duty service.

It's a pivotal decision that now allows potential prospects from schools such as Air Force, Army and Navy to be scouted on a more even playing field.

"When you were in those rooms, and you were considering a young man from one of the service academies, most certainly you wanted to know what are the circumstances involved," Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun said.

The new ruling eases a heavy burden placed on athletes who've typically had to choose between a professional sports career or serving in a specific military field.

"It's real and I'm thankful for that rule change, next semester I'm putting all my extra time into becoming a potential NFL wide receiver," Falcons senior wide receiver Geraud Sanders said.

"I still want to serve and be a pilot but if I get the opportunity to play at the next level, it's not trying to get out of service. It's an opportunity I'm granted with and I'll take that and still want to go pilot school at the conclusion whenever that's done."