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At what level should Army play NCAA football to maintain its integrity and academic standards

Posted by John T. Reed on

What NCAA football should Army have? D-III high academic, NESCAC if they’ll have us.
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Or a military academy, sort of, league: USCGA, USMMA, SUNY Maritime, Maine Maritime, MIT, Norwich.
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Johns Hopkins might be a good model. They compete at the D I level in lacrosse, but D-III in football. They recruited my son, Dan.
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There are also high academic D-III schools scattered around the US. Claremont, Pomona, Occidental, Chicago, Colorado, McAlester, St. Johns.
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What about Air Force and Navy? Forget them. There might be one of the three academies that could compete in FBS if they were the only one. There might be enough blue chippers who would want to go to a service academy to fill one football team. Or maybe not.
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Army has had about 60 years of not much success and honor scandals. We set and I suspect still hold the worse record ever: 0-13. It ain’t working, not only on the football field, but the attempt has diminished the Academy off the field.
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General of the Armies Douglas MacArthur famously said,
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“On the fields of friendly strife are sown the seeds that on other fields, on other days, bear the fruits of victory.” The “other fields” of which he spoke were wars.
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Nice thought. Logical but I know of no evidence that supports it.
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I have recommended that all cadets at West Point have to COACH football before graduation because it is such good training for managing combat operations.
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I graduated from West Point and did a tour in Vietnam. I was a paratrooper and a ranger.
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I also coached 17 football teams and wrote eight books on football coaching. One of them changed the way football is played (Football Clock Management). Others changed the way many coaches coach youth football.
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Many WP grads say Army should switch to the Ivy League. Nope. My son Dan was recruited by Columbia, Dartmouth, and Yale. He played tailback for four years at Columbia.
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A. The Ivy League colleges hate the military. Yeah, the Ivies let ROTC back on campus. They were forced to when the military stopped banning gays, which was the Ivies’ partial and proclaimed reason for banning ROTC. I predict they will come up with another reason and ban it again. They hate the military in spite of not officially admitting it.
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B. Army cannot compete in the Ivy League if they have to recruit as an Ivy League School. They also cannot compete with Air Force and Navy if they have to recruit as an Ivy League school.
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C. Army is not up to Ivy League academic standards. If I recall correctly, West Point cadets SAT scores are something like 100 to 200 points below the dumbest Ivy League school.
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Last I checked, the average WP cadet’s SAT scores matched almost exactly to U of MD, College Park. There is no way the Ivies are going to compete with a football team who is allowed to admit U of MD type players.
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Could the current Army team compete with Ivy teams? Army’s last game against HARVARD was 1991. Army won 21-20. Their last game against Yale was 2014 and Yale won 49-43. The other most recent Ivy games were back in the 1980s.
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But this two game history of Army v. Harvard and Yale is irrelevant. Army now recruits as an FBS team. If you want to go into the Ivy League, you have to abide by Ivy recruiting rules. That would force Army to rely on high academic players and they cannot compete for high academic players with real Ivy schools. Ivy players can and do play in the NFL. The only NFL starter from Army is Pittsburgh’s Villanueva.
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There is a type of high school football star that has a hard time getting recruited to play college ball: “tweeners.” They are fast enough but too small or big enough but too slow.
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Army is a tweener team. Smart enough to play NESCAC. History enough to play FBS. Too dumb to play Ivy. Too difficult to go from Army to the NFL to play Ivy or FBS. FBS requires blue chip recruits. Army cannot get those players last I heard.
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Like I said, major service academy package may appeal to one team’s worth of FBS level high school grads. Probably not two and apparently not three.
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Stanford is true FBS and high academic. But I think they are the only ones who can do that. But they have not won a national title since 1940.
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Army might be too strong for NESCAC even after recruiting as a D-III high academic school. If they tried to do the Johns Hopkins thing, I suspect they would have to prohibit their football players from also playing another sport. They would be too weak to play Ivy recruiting as an Ivy. And the jury is in on Army being an FBS team.
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Clinging to the FBS division by its fingernails forces Army to endure cheating scandals and to have players who, according to one West Point professor, are borderline illiterate. If that is the only way we can be FBS, we can’t morally remain in the FBS and be true to the raison d’etre of West Point: the best possible national defense.
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https://www.johntreed.com/collections/football-coaching-books/products/football-clock-management-5th-edition-book-by-john-t-reed

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