Service academy student-athletes set to be allowed to defer military service to play professionally
A new regulation set to be enacted by the Department of Defense will allow student-athletes at service academies across the country to temporarily defer their mandatory military obligations to turn professional in their sport.
The practice was allowed several years ago while former President Obama was in office, but was later struck down by the Pentagon in 2017. However, according to a memo released by the DoD, it is set to return, provided that the student-athlete in question promises to serve on the completion of their professional sports careers—generally doing so for a period of 5 years. If they do not serve or are unable to do so, they will need to repay their education costs.
Individuals unable to serve due to medical reasons will be allowed to serve in civilian roles under the guidelines.
Three service academies field football programs in FBS: the U.S. Military Academy, the U.S. Naval Academy and the Air Force Academy. The Army and Navy football teams are set to meet next month for the 120th Army-Navy Game, scheduled for Dec. 14 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.