There was quite a bit happening while I was gone. I-Day and the subsequent official recruit lists were the big news. The 2009 schedule evolved a bit more, too, as Rice now is scheduled for the date once reserved for Rutgers. And we also had this bit announcing that former Army punter Owen Tolson’s pursuit of an NFL contract has come to an end.
“Football is a thing of the past, I’m told,” said Tolson, who signed with the Giants in May but was cut after rookie mini-camp.
Really? So does this mean that the Army has thrown a bucket of water on the ASO witch?
Don’t get your hopes up. Caleb Campbell is still a Detroit Lion, isn’t he? And none of the Army baseball players filling the ranks of the minor leagues have been whisked away, have they? No. The Alternative “Service” Option hasn’t gone anywhere. It would appear to me that this is nothing more than housekeeping, with the goal being to simply save face by limiting the time that players have to pursue a pro contract.
That puts the Army in a rather ironic position. The best thing for them would be if Caleb Campbell was cut by the Lions. That way, the Army gets to say “See? They’re going off to serve now. No harm, no foul!” Sure, that means that they won’t get any good PR out of Campbell. But they would still get to sell the ASO to recruits (which is all they really care about), while OSD stays off their backs since there’s nobody violating the DOD policy. Well, other than baseball and hockey players, but Army’s been getting away with that for a few years now. The Army’s policy would simply be under perpetual “review.”
In a twist that everyone could see coming except for the Army, the worst part is that by possibly being called back into actual service, Campbell is generating negative PR. The headlines tell the story: “Campbell’s career could be in jeopardy.” “Campbell might have to forgo NFL career for Army.” The tone is one of disappointment. “Oh no, he’s going to have to serve now.” And that not only doesn’t help Army recruiting efforts… It harms them by painting the Army as a letdown. Talk of Campbell’s future is nothing but speculation now, but just watch. If he gets cut, the collective response will be, “oh no! Now he has to go be in the Army!”
Anyway, the drama continues.