COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The Air Force Academy said Sunday it has launched an investigation of its athletic department and is demanding more accountability from coaches after the Colorado Springs Gazette reported allegations of lax oversight and athlete misconduct.
Lt. Gen. Michelle D. Johnson, the academy’s superintendent, released a statement acknowledging “troubling” behavior by some athletes and other cadets. She cited a 2011 party that eventually led to the court-martial and expulsions of several cadets, some for sexual misconduct.
Johnson told The Gazette that the academy inspector general’s office will look into the athletic department to determine whether sports programs promote the school’s ideals.
Johnson recently summoned coaches to a meeting and told them continued misconduct by athletes would put the school in a predicament like Penn State, where former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was convicted of child sexual abuse, said Hans Mueh, the academy athletic director.
“(The coaches) still talk to me and say, ‘I have never been chewed out like that before,’” Mueh told The Gazette.
Johnson said she made her expectations clear, and in response, coaches and athletes have created several programs to explain and enforce academy standards. A group called Cadet Athletes Against Sexual Violence produced a video pledging to fight sexual violence, she said.
Mueh acknowledged that some Air Force athletes convicted of crimes or found culpable for other violations never should have been recruited.
“Obviously, we shouldn’t have brought any of them in — in hindsight,” he said.
Mueh and football coach Troy Calhoun said the school now is focusing more on the character of potential recruits, interviewing teachers, school janitors, parents and neighbors.
Coaches have been told if they ignore a recruit’s problems or an athlete’s misconduct, they will be fired, Calhoun said.
Offensive coordinator out after surgery: In South Bend, Indiana, Notre Dame offensive coordinator Mike Denbrock will miss “the first few weeks of preseason camp” after having surgery last week.
Coach Brian Kelly announced in a statement Sunday that he would assume Denbrock’s duties until his assistant returns. Kelly said Denbrock is “doing extremely well,” but did not give specifics about his condition.
Denbrock is beginning his first season as offensive coordinator at Notre Dame.