|Who are those white boys? Jacob Hester would fit right in.|
Army-Navy football feels as if it was preserved in a snow globe many years ago. All that's missing for the game in Philadelphia this year is the snow. Everything is blue and gray, even the sky. Older men wear fedoras and homburgs, young couples hold hands, and the gates overflow with happy people in somber overcoats. Someone shouts, "Get your program here!" The sports world, the real world, changes so rapidly, but not Army-Navy. Here it is perpetually 1948, and America is strong. The Midshipmen march into the stadium in perfect rhythm, and the Cadets march in perfect rhythm, and tomorrow looks bright.
Why does Army-Navy still matter? Neither team has been a national championship contender in two generations. Many years, neither team is even a bowl contender. The schools stubbornly cling to the worn-out triple-option offense years after even the most stubborn warhorses, such as Nebraska and Alabama, gave it up. In today's world of wildcats and spreads and pistols, Army-Navy can look more like a reenactment than a football game.
Still, there have been other instances in which Hester has removed his helmet without meaning to pull a fast one—like when he's trying to towel off the part of him that is most an anachronism: his white face. The fact is, in today's game, it's rare to see a white running back playing the role of dominant rusher on a college football team, let alone a national champion. And Hester hears about it. In 2006, after shedding his headgear during a first-quarter timeout against Tennessee, Vols linebacker Jerod Mayo reacted as if he had seen a ghost. Said Mayo to Hester, "Shouldn't you be playing running back for Air Force?' "
Chad Hall, a former Air Force white running back, plays on the Philadelphia Eagles. Former Navy running back Eric Kettani was on the New England Patriots practice squad, but was recently called up to active duty.
There are plenty of talented white players who don't get recruited because of the conditioned belief that only Black athletes can perform at the tailback, receiver, or defensive back. Tom Lemming, perhaps the top recruiting guru, told Michael Lewis this in The Blind Side; he told The Chicago Sun Times as well; and The South Bend Tribune. Funny that a Black player from Tennessee would immediately tell Hester he should play for the Academy (the prior year, Tennessee had barely beaten an almost all-white starting Air Force team).
Principal among these are things academy coaches groan over but cannot possibly get around: 1) the postgraduate military commitment is up to five years; to an 18-year-old considering college, four plus five equals half a lifetime; 2) formal declaration or no, the U.S. is at war; 3) since Joe Namath got $400,000 to sign with the New York Jets, every high school quarterback with half a pound of talent dreams of getting his share. When Blaik had Army vying for national championships, the service commitment was just going up from three years to four, the chances were a West Pointer would not find himself being shot at immediately after graduation and Joe Namath was a poor kid in Pennsylvania.
There are other drawbacks. Recruiting is tough because academy entrance requirements are as high as the Ivy League's. There are no crip courses. The daily schedule is harsh, intense—especially in the first year—and the strict regimentation discourages many.
All three academies also have prep schools. They exist primarily for students who have an interest in the academy but are not considered ready academically to enroll after their senior year of high school. The prep schools are used, most of the time, for two groups of students: minorities who need to improve their board scores and take or retake core courses, and athletes who need similar academic help. This allows the academy coaching staffs to recruit players who fall below the average SAT score for the rest of the student body, which is about 1200 at both Army and Navy.
The Annapolis Capital newspaper on Sunday published a significant investigative piece on admissions at the U.S. Naval Academy, adding new voices and fresh statistics to the ongoing debate over whether the service academy routinely lowers its exacting entry standards for minority applicants and athletes.A large group of critics, unofficially led by English Professor Bruce Fleming, contend the academy operates a two-tiered admission system. Here's how I described it in a 2009 story:To win the admissions board's approval, Fleming said (describing his own experience on that board), a white applicant had to present SAT section scores higher than 600 (out of 800); a transcript of A's and B's; and a strong background of leadership in sports and student life, reflected in a five
four-digit score called the whole-person multipliermultiple.Black and Hispanic students were routinely admitted with SAT scores in the 500s; with B's and C's; and lower whole-person multipliers, Fleming said in the 2009 account. The same lower standards apply to athletes.Academy spokesman Cmdr. Joe Carpenter said in response that "since 2004 there has been no "standard cut-off" or minimum SAT for anyone, including white non-athletes or any other group."The Capital reviewed academy records and found that the school admits students with SAT section scores as low as 370, although its standard cutoff for white non-athletes is 600."The unfairness is absolutely real," a former admission board member told the Capital, one of several the paper quoted anonymously.The Capital says the academy uses its Naval Academy Preparatory School, or NAPS, as a back-door admissions pathway for "borderline" students. The prep school is designed as a one-year catch-up program for students with lower test scores and grades or from schools with weak programs, a routine that was common among graduates of rural high schools in earlier generations.The prep school supplies between one-fifth and one-fourth of each year's entering class at the academy, according to the Capital. Nearly everyone from the prep program gains admission to the academy ahead of everyone else."During a recent two-year period, NAPS grads were arriving at the Naval Academy so poorly prepared for college-level work, the Naval Academy superintendent relieved the officer in charge of the prep school. Still, these Napsters were found to be fully qualified and were admitted to the academy, while other qualified students were turned away," writer Earl Kelly reports.The 300-student NAPS class of 2011 included 190 minority students and 110 recruited athletes, according to records obtained by the Capital.More stats: "For the Naval Academy Classes of 2009-2013, 312 African Americans entered the Naval Academy, 180 (58 percent) of whom came through NAPS, according to documents obtained under FOIA."Among whites, by contrast, "521 of the 4,101 admitted to the academy (13 percent) entered through NAPS," the Capital wrote.More stats:"Of the 155 football players listed on Navy's 2010 roster, 86 (55 percent) attended NAPS, according to the school's sports Web page."
Few Black high school students – current Black starting quarterback Tim Jefferson has battled academic issues his entire tenure - have the intelligence to make it at the Air Force Academy (or Navy, unless standards are lowered), and, worse, the Air Force Academy has consistently fielded teams that, in spite of their whiteness, win games. Over the past 20 years, the Air Force has been the best service academy winning big games over schools that start majority Black teams.Air Force Coach Fisher DeBerry, expressing frustration Tuesday with the Falcons' slumping performance, attributed their latest loss in part to No. 20 Texas Christian's having more African American players who "can run very, very well."DeBerry, in his 22nd year at the Air Force Academy, first mentioned the academy's lack of minority players compared with other schools while talking to reporters Monday.He said Air Force needed to recruit faster players. "We were looking at things, like you don't see many minority athletes in our program," DeBerry told the Colorado Springs Gazette.When questioned about the remarks during his weekly luncheon Tuesday, the coach didn't hesitate to elaborate."It just seems to be that way, that Afro-American kids can run very, very well. That doesn't mean that Caucasian kids and other descents can't run, but it's very obvious to me they run extremely well," DeBerry said in remarks first broadcast Tuesday night by KWGN-TV in Denver.
|Army and Navy are too white for 21st Century America|
- In the aftermath of the Fort Hood Massacre – when a Muslim in the Army went on a Jihad – the top ranking officer in the Army, Gen. George Casey said this, “Our diversity, not only in our Army, but in our country, is a strength. And as horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse,” Casey said.
- Stars and Stripes, the newspaper of the armed services, recently published a cover-story bemoaning the fact that not enough Black people are becoming heroes in the War on Terror.
- Recently, a USNA color guard for the World Series was deemed too white:
Naval Academy leaders removed two midshipmen from a color guard that performed at the World Series last week because they were white men, and replaced them with a non-white man and a white woman so the academy could present a more “diverse” profile, according to several sources, a move that has reportedly angered mids and alumni.
As it turned out, the color guard still ended up all white because the male replacement forgot parts of his uniform.
Two white, male members of the color guard learned Oct. 28 they were being replaced with a white woman, Midshipman 2nd Class Hannah Allaire, and a non-white man, Midshipman 2nd Class Zishan Hameed, on orders of the school’s administration, according to an internal e-mail message provided to Navy Times by an academy professor. With a national television audience, Naval Academy leadership worried the color guard it planned to send wasn’t diverse enough, the e-mail said.
- Racism is the primary reason why there are so few Black Air Force fighter pilots; racism is the primary reason why the various Special Forces groups (like the Navy SEALs) are almost all white;
- Coast Guard Academy standards are too high for Black applicants, so to increase diversity, discrimination against whites must be official sanctioned.
- Too many Black people fail the entry exam given to every recruit; obviously racism is involved.
- The United States Marine Corps has declared itself too white:
Amos outlined plans to highlight the legacy of the Montford Point Marines in the history of the tradition-bound Corps, and to improve recruitment and retention of a more diverse pool of Marines. But he introduced his unscripted “from the heart” talk with about 500 officers by saying he was dismayed by the lack of diversity in the Corps, particularly among officers.
“We’re failing,” in this mission, Amos said. “We’re not the face of society.”
About 10 percent of the Corps is African-American, versus about 12 percent of the U.S. population, Amos said. Among the 2010 crop of 1,703 newly minted Marine lieutenants, only 60, or 3.5 percent, were African-American.
- And, Congress commissioned a report in 2009 that found the officers serving in the United States Military were too white:
Real American Heroes, Black-Run America style.
Our country deserves better.