Monday, August 04, 2014

Who will investigate AFA next?

The Air Force Academy announced it was launching an investigation into its athletic department after the local paper, the Colorado Springs Gazette, did its own investigation into the department. The latter revealed sexual assault by athletes, use of date rape drugs, academic allowances to athletes, drinking and drug use.
At the center of controversy is a 2010 party that resulted in 32 students being investigated. Not all were athletes but three athletes, 2 male, 1 female, were expelled.
It does seem like AFA addressed the misbehavior of the students, so I am not completely clear on why the Gazette was looking into this now. My guess is that they were looking to expose a culture of privilege in AFA athletics. Perhaps the party and the punishments were kept quiet. But the school's (somewhat new--2013) superintendent, Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson, is committed, she says, to addressing these issues and has conveyed that message to coaches who are being asked to look more carefully at the character of recruits.
Johnson is concerned that athletes are more loyal to their teams or other athletes than the school's codes and ideals. Of course the culture of the academy and military in general, I would argue, is about loyalty to one's "brothers and sisters" or immediate peers in the group. I don't find it surprising that the loyalty (to country, to fellow soldiers) that is central to military ideology has resulted in a situation such as this. There are plenty of other military scandals that reveal a culture of secrecy and privilege stemming from this version of loyalty.
The question remains: will this publicity and the multiple investigations lead to an investigation by OCR? Are the academy's Title IX policies and procedures part of the issue here?