For Army Football, a Duty to Win Again – NYTimes.com

For Army Football, a Duty to Win Again – NYTimes.com.

A couple of items to note here:

He also said Army could be slightly more relaxed on its admissions policy when it came to superior athletes. “We’re looking for a level of trust that our people out there recruiting can recognize that a young man has the character and leadership qualities to come and succeed at West Point,” he said. “We want to be able to take an educated risk on someone that we’ve identified holistically. We’re not talking about five deviations from the average cadet.”

Oh boy. That’s sure to raise some eyebrows.

Army’s admissions standards are their own business, so if they want to take their “educated risks,” they can go on ahead as far as I’m concerned. They can judge for themselves how well they are meeting their mission. What irritates me about this is that there is an implication here that Army needs to relax their standards in order to win. In other words, Army doesn’t win as much as Navy in part because their admissions standards are higher than Navy’s. That’s been a rallying cry among the Army faithful during the streak, but nobody provides any details when pressed. Considering how they’ve been sending as many as FIFTY recruits to their prep school, I would wager that the opposite is true.

“We’re a national institution that should play against other colleges and institutions and all over the country,” Dawkins said. “I think it’s crucial that West Point stand out as a place of winners. We owe it to the country. They deserve to have a winning Army football team.”

On a less serious note, another comment I see a lot from people in and around the Army program is that Army’s football struggles are an issue of national importance, or something along those lines. The American people deserve a winning Army team. No, the American people demand a winning Army team! Come on, now. Don’t get me wrong, winning is important in getting wider exposure to potential admissions candidates, and it should absolutely be very important to the school. It matters. Let’s just not pretend that anyone is losing sleep over it.

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14 Responses

  1. Army and Air Force are both convinced Navy is bending the rules (cheating) somehow to have the success Navy has had over the last decade plus and there answer seems to be that they will have to bend the rules (cheat) more and better to catch up. I hope they don’t bend the rules so far that it causes a scandal the ends up effecting all the Service academies. AF almost got all the prep schools shut down in the 90s by bending the rules too far on recruited athletes.

    • Where is your source that they believe Navy is bending the rules?

    • http://mbd.scout.com/mb.aspx?s=239&f=2423&t=12471226 In this thread for one reference. I’m not going to search the AF board but they have made similar statements about the NAAA structure in the past

  2. just look at the curriculum differences between NAPS and MAPS and say with a straight face we recruit tougher/smarter kids. Army already lowers its standards. MAPS is a cake walk compared to NAPS.

    • Are the curricula available online anywhere? I’ve heard that before but never seen it laid out. I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s a cyclical thing.

    • MAPS: http://www.usma.edu/usmaps/SitePages/Curriculum.aspx

      NAPS: http://www.usna.edu/NAPS/Academics/index.php

    • Copied from MAPS website:
      The academic program focuses on Mathematics and English. These broad areas provide the basic requirements for academic success at West Point. Cadet candidates also receive instruction in life management skill and critical/reading skills through the Success
      Development Course. Rigorous concentration on these skills improves a student’s ability to grasp and retain information as well as to think critically and communicate clearly.

      Copied from NAPS website:
      The curriculum is tailored to ensuring optimal preparation in the very courses that provide the greatest challenge to success, i.e., English composition, Mathematics, Chemistry, and Physics.

      Hmmm. MAPS focuses on “basic requirements for academic success” . Doesn’t even mention Chem.& Physics.

      The whining is pathetic and insulting at the same time.

  3. I enjoy that we beat them in U.S. News as well as on the gridiron. If they want to put more pressure on the inputs that lead to the discrepancy there…

    • We’d point to US News, they’d point to Forbes (and do all the time). Honestly, I’m not very comfortable with trying to look good for magazine rankings. The service academies have a very specific mission, and how well we do that mission is the only thing that matters. It’s good for service academies to compare favorably to other schools in order to maintain a level of esteem (and by extension appeal), but it isn’t how we measure ourselves. At least it shouldn’t be.

    • Fair enough. Let me be more nuanced with my point. Whether or n

    • Sorry. Accidentally truncated post. I’ll try again.

      Fair enough. So let Let me try to make a more nuanced and less competitive point.

      Unlike at a big state school where the class size dwarfs the football team, I’m guessing that the football team (and other teams) at the academies are large enough compared to the student body that sacrificing standards for athletic ability has a material (even if still small) impact on the inputs to the magazine rankings, I’m guessing that the fact the two academies are comparably ranked (no matter which publication one looks at) suggests that Navy does not have appreciably lower standards than Army for athletes. To the extent that some of these inputs are predictive of mission accomplishment (e.g. those that measure academic ability), that is a good thing.

    • I agree with Mike regarding the rankings. Always thought that they were fodder for parents and pubescent teens. Anybody who thinks the magazine rankings are anything other than a clever revenue-generator for the publications is naive.

  4. GEN MacArthur said it plainly, “there is no substitute for victory”.

    This is just the Army way of grieving after being routed in Philly. And this year, it is especially painful because the game was not even close (therefore the fiction of “closing the gap” is dispelled).

  5. Good point re “America deserves a winning Army team.” America couldn’t care less. Yeah, a few people might wonder why Army sucks so bad at football, but I don’t think people generally equate that with West Point’s day job. And it’s not like Army just started sucking. They’ve sucked for decades, with a good year to two here and there. Why is it a national crisis now?

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