Wags on Dobbs

Bill Wagner weighed in yesterday on Ricky’s performance in the East-West Shrine Game. It was a positive assessment for the most part, and I agree. I thought Ricky played well. He looked a little bit uncomfortable on his first series, and looked like he could have used some better cleats when he slipped on his first pass attempt. On his second series, the coaches started him out by running a couple of quarterback draws, which are right in Ricky’s wheelhouse. That seemed to give him a little confidence, and he played well after that. The wind was absolutely ridiculous that day– it was strong enough to actually blow over one of the metal benches on the sideline before the game– making downfield passes a virtual impossibility. On short and medium-range passes, though, Ricky threw the ball very well. Well enough to turn the heads of NFL scouts? Hell if I know. Besides, most of their evaluation is done during the week in practice. But if nothing else, Ricky played well and made Navy fans proud. At least this Navy fan, anyway.

There needs to be some clarification after Wags’ article, though. He’s wrong about the “Alternative Service Option.” The ASO is not, as he put it, a “Department of Defense initiative.” The DoD policy, which you can read here, requires a minimum of two years of active duty service before an athlete is allowed to apply to his particular service’s secretary for permission to play professional sports. I emphasize “minimum” because any further requirements, including additional years of active service, are at the discretion of the individual service secretaries. The Secretary of the Navy requires that athletes serve the entire length of their active duty obligations. The Secretaries of the Army and the Air Force do not, and instead abide by the DoD minimums.

The “Alternative Service Option” is a defunct program that the Army attempted as a way to circumvent the Department of Defense minimums. Born out of a West Point committee assembled in 2003 and tasked with finding ways to improve Army football, the ASO allowed Army athletes to play professionally immediately upon graduation beginning in 2005. In order to get around the DoD requirement for at least two years of active duty service, the ASO simply said that athletes could play professional sports and call that “active duty service.” The Department of Defense shut the ASO down, issuing a memo that stated “constructs for ‘active duty’ service should not include arrangements typically unavailable to others in uniform.”

In short, there is no DoD “program.” Applications to play professionally are handled on a case by case basis, following DoD minimums, and at the discretion of each service’s secretary. The Secretary of the Navy simply chooses not to approve the applications he receives.

12 thoughts on “Wags on Dobbs

  1. hardcore24

    One would have thought that Bill Wagner was familiar enough with your postings here, and on GoMids to know exactly what the ASO was all about??? Oh well …
    Ricky Dobbs did play well in the E-W Shrine game, … but I’m not sure his total game @ QB translates well into that NFL position on future Sundays. He was certainly a helleva QB for Navy though.

  2. navyrugger

    oh man the real surprise is when Bill Wagner writes something that isn’t at least partially screwed up. He’s a great Navy fan and probably gets little help, but there is a reason he writes for the Capital.

  3. pipehunter

    C’mon 24 – what reporter gets all of it right? You too, Rugger.
    Wags does a pretty good job. He covers just about everything, probably has limited resources in a small time paper, and has the editors looking for him to write a smoking gun article on USNA when he can (e.g. last year with all the “sources”). But all in all, I am a fan.

    As for Ricky at the Shrine game, he said that his slip was initially caused by tripping over a teammates foot. I don’t remember that, but that was his recollection.

  4. hardcore24

    ph, … Wagner is a pretty good “Navy” guy based on the vast majority of his work, but this gaff on the ASO issue is pretty major if one really considers the exposure he has had to the “truth/facts” from the local sources (and I’m quite certain that he reads what has been explained in detail). Other that being a nice “feel good fluff” piece about Ricky Dobbs’ performance in the Shrine game, that latest article filled with inaccuracies overall. Ironic that a year ago you were leading the lynch mob calling for Wags’ head after his Marcus Curry articles. Go Navy!!!

  5. navyrugger

    Pipe I like Wags ok and read everything he writes. He just makes a lot of mistakes – dates, names, sequences, pretty much everything you can make a mistake on. Well more than his share IMO. So it was no surprise to me when he was wrong when discussing ASO…..because that is par for his course. Doesn’t make him a bad guy or bad for Navy.

  6. pipehunter

    No irony and I wasn’t calling for his head. I disagreed with him on the use of the “sources” and still do, but all things considered I would not want to lose him.

  7. Andrewde78

    This discussion about active duty commitment and post-Academy graduation stuff made me remember of the recent case about the stud Safety graduating from West Point and being highly sought after by the NFL. His name was Campbell I believe. Is anyone able elaborate on this? All I remember was that he was given the go-ahead in the Spring of his Senior year to play for the Detroit Lions, graduates, is 2 weeks out from reporting to training camp or is already in camp, and the Army changes their mind and pulls him back in. I could be wrong but that is how I understood it. So again, can anyone elaborate as to what happened here and what the situation is now with Campbell?

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