Trump wants to restore waiver for service academy athletes

Posted: Updated:

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump said Monday he is looking into offering a waiver that would allow athletes attending the nation's military academies to play professional sports immediately upon graduation.

Trump made the announcement Monday while presenting the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy to the U.S. Military Academy football team during a Rose Garden ceremony. The Army Black Knights completed an 11-2 season, including wins over the Air Force and Navy. Army earned the trophy for the second consecutive year.

Trump said that, under the plan he envisions, athletes would "serve their time after they're finished with professional sports." He said that should make recruiting a little easier for the military academies.

Trump's own Defense Department rescinded a policy in 2017 that allowed the best athletes from the military's service academies to go straight to the pros upon graduation instead of having to first serve in active duty.

Then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, in an April 2017 memo, said that the service academies "exist to develop future officers," and that graduates would serve as "full-fledged military officers carrying out the normal work and career expectations" of someone who received an education at the taxpayers' expense.

The Pentagon on Monday was not aware of any impending changes to the Mattis policy.

Under the current framework, athletes have to serve two years of active duty before applying for reserve status to pursue a career in professional sports.

Trump paid tribute to the Army football team, which has the nation's second-longest active winning streak at nine games, behind Clemson University. Trump described the players as "star athletes and stars in every way."

____

Associated Press writers Jill Colvin and Lolita Baldor contributed to this report.

(Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."