Trump wants to restore waiver for service academy athletes

President Donald Trump says he is looking into reviving a waiver that his own administration eliminated that would allow service academy athletes to play professional sports upon graduation

Trump said that, under the plan he envisions, athletes would "serve their time after they're finished with professional sports." He said that should make recruiting a little easier for the military academies.

Trump's own Defense Department rescinded a policy in 2017 that allowed the best athletes from the military's service academies to go straight to the pros upon graduation instead of having to first serve in active duty.

Then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, in an April 2017 memo, said that the service academies "exist to develop future officers," and that graduates would serve as "full-fledged military officers carrying out the normal work and career expectations" of someone who received an education at the taxpayers' expense.

The Pentagon on Monday was not aware of any impending changes to the Mattis policy.

Under the current framework, athletes have to serve two years of active duty before applying for reserve status to pursue a career in professional sports.

Another Heisman Trophy winner, Glenn Davis of Army in 1946, was a first-round draft pick of the Detroit Lions but had to serve three years in the Army before making his NFL debut with Detroit in 1950.

In addition, receiver Phil McConkey played for Navy from 1975-78, then served for five years before the New York Giants made him a 27-year-old rookie in 1984. He caught a touchdown pass in the Super Bowl for New York and remained in the NFL through 1989.

More recently, Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the sixth round of the 2016 draft after completing a four-year run with the Midshipmen. He played in two games with Seattle last season.

After Reynolds went pro, the Defense Department in 2017 rescinded a year-old policy that allowed military service academy athletes such as Reynolds to play professionally immediately upon graduation.

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Associated Press writers Jill Colvin and Lolita Baldor in Washington and AP Sports Writer David Ginsburg in Baltimore contributed to this report.