December 15, 2013

Army football coach fired for not recruiting enough accused rapists

From the NYT:
Army Coach, Winless Against Navy, Is Fired After Rout 
By JOE DRAPE

One day after it lost to Navy for the 12th consecutive time, Army fired its football coach, Rich Ellerson, acknowledging he was a “tremendous role model for our cadet-athletes” but deciding that his 20-41 record at West Point and 1-9 record against the other service academies was more important to the direction of its football program. ...
The Black Knights last beat the Midshipmen in 2001. The Midshipmen, who also defeated Air Force this season, won the Commander in Chief Trophy as the top service academy team for the ninth time in 11 seasons. Navy’s 12-game run is the longest in the history of the rivalry that began in 1890. 

In a wholly unrelated New York Times story last September:
Navy Hearing in Rape Case Raises Alarm 
By JENNIFER STEINHAUER 
Published: September 20, 2013  
WASHINGTON — For roughly 30 hours over several days, defense lawyers for three former United States Naval Academy football players grilled a female midshipman about her sexual habits.

And from a 2010 op-ed in the NYT by an English professor at Annapolis:
The Academies’ March Toward Mediocrity 
By BRUCE FLEMING 
Published: May 20, 2010 
Annapolis, Md. -- THE idea of a football star receiving lenient treatment after testing positive for drug use would raise no eyebrows at most colleges. But the United States Naval Academy “holds itself to a higher standard,” as its administrators are fond of saying. According to policy set by the chief of naval operations, Adm. Gary Roughead, himself a former commandant of midshipmen at the academy, we have a “zero tolerance” policy for drug use. 
Yet, according to Navy Times, a running back was allowed to remain at Annapolis this term because the administration accepted his claim that he smoked a cigar that he didn’t know contained marijuana. (He was later kicked off the team for a different infraction, and has now left the academy.) 
The incident brings to light an unpleasant truth: the Naval Academy, where I have been a professor for 23 years, has lost its way. The same is true of the other service academies. They are a net loss to the taxpayers who finance them, as well as a huge disappointment to their students, who come expecting reality to match reputation. They need to be fixed or abolished. ...

Meanwhile, the academy’s former pursuit of excellence seems to have been pushed aside by the all-consuming desire to beat Notre Dame at football (as Navy did last year). To keep our teams in the top divisions of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, we fill officer-candidate slots with students who have been recruited primarily for their skills at big-time sports. That means we reject candidates with much higher predictors of military success (and, yes, athletic skills that are more pertinent to military service) in favor of players who, according to many midshipmen who speak candidly to me, often have little commitment to the military itself. 
It’s no surprise that recruited athletes have been at the center of recent scandals, including a linebacker who was convicted of indecent assault on a female midshipman in 2007 and a quarterback who was accused of rape and dismissed from the academy for sexual misconduct in 2006. Sports stars are flattered on campus, avoid many of the onerous duties other midshipmen must perform, and know they’re not going to be thrown out. Instead of zero tolerance, we now push for zero attrition: we “remediate” honor code offenses. 
Another program that is placing strain on the academies is an unofficial affirmative-action preference in admissions. While we can debate the merits of universities making diversity a priority in deciding which students to admit, how can one defend the use of race as a factor at taxpayer-financed academies — especially those whose purpose is to defend the Constitution? Yet, as I can confirm from the years I spent on the admissions board in 2002 and ’03 and from my conversations with more recent board members, if an applicant identifies himself or herself as non-white, the bar for qualification immediately drops. 
Some in the administration have justified the admissions policies on the ground that it “takes all kinds” to be officers. But that’s not really what the academies recruit. They don’t give preference to accomplished cellists or people from religious minorities or cerebral Zen types.

In the British tradition, the Army was politicized and anti-meritocratic and very much gave preference to the Church of England upper class. Officers were disproportionately from the landed aristocracy so that they wouldn't be tempted to take over the country in a military coup because they already owned it. The Royal Navy was more for careers open to talent, because it was more technologically complicated than a cavalry charge and seemed less likely to pull a coup.

43 comments:

Glossy said...

Primal stuff. Football is simulated war. These are service academies. War is at base raping and pillaging. Some are bound to be better at that than others, or at least more enthusiastic.

honest question said...

What's the GPA requirement at West Point or Annapolis to stay on the football team? I realize the players major in b.s. like public relations or international cultures but they still have to take some real courses conducted at the academies. Even with grade inflation I was interested to see during the game that CBS was put up a few bio screens for guys with 3.2 or 3.4

rhetorical question said...

Do Army/Navy/AF/Coast Guard also spend money operating lots of useless Title IX sports

Anonymous said...

I've noticed this for a while. The Naval Academy's football fortunes have really swung since the turn of this century. See this piece in the NY Times from a professor at the academy, Bruce Fleming.

Meanwhile, the academy’s former pursuit of excellence seems to have been pushed aside by the all-consuming desire to beat Notre Dame at football (as Navy did last year). To keep our teams in the top divisions of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, we fill officer-candidate slots with students who have been recruited primarily for their skills at big-time sports. That means we reject candidates with much higher predictors of military success (and, yes, athletic skills that are more pertinent to military service) in favor of players who, according to many midshipmen who speak candidly to me, often have little commitment to the military itself.

Anonymous said...

Gladwell has another wank-fest with Simmons on the latter's site. Please comment, Steve.

Anonymous said...

I saw part of the game and wondered just how much lower are the SATs of the football team first stringers compared to the scores of the rest of the cadets and midshipmen.

Of course, the quality of football was bad, which made me feel as if perhaps I am being too skeptical.

Steve Sailer said...

The email exchange illustrates the difference between Gladwell and Bill Simmons in "Access to Examples." Simmons is good at using examples to evaluate ideas, while Gladwell is not.

Gladwell has some complicated point he wants to make about celebrities and scandals, so he comes up with a quantitative scheme for the biggest possible celebrity scandal. Gladwell uses Tiger Woods' 2009 scandal when his wife read his text messages and then chased him with a golf club as his example of a huge scandal in terms of big celebrity doing something really bad.

Simmons comes back and says, yeah, but OJ really has to be the All Time #1 combination of big celebrity doing something really, really bad. And then later on Simmons says, you know, Chappaquiddick has to rank up there pretty high too. OJ #1, Teddy #2.

In other words, Gladwell comes up with one not bad example and then is off to the races with this concept he's been dreaming up for awhile. In contrast, Simmons keeps going back to thinking about examples and finally comes up with two that dwarf the one that Gladwell thought would wow everybody.

This isn't to say that Gladwell's idea, whatever it was, is right or wrong, just that the reason Simmons is quite good at evaluating multiple forms of evidence is because he likes evidence, while Gladwell likes ideas a lot more than he likes evidence.

Anonymous said...

What's the GPA requirement at West Point or Annapolis to stay on the football team? I realize the players major in b.s. like public relations or international cultures but they still have to take some real courses conducted at the academies.

It used to be that every West Point cadet was required to major in an engineering specialty, with numerous minors available. But it seems that these days, it is possible to major in other fields of studies relevant to the military.

http://usmilitary.about.com/library/weekly/blaa020402.htm

Kaz said...

@honest question

Piss easy. Especially with the kind of support/study networks athletes get.

Anything short of engineering/sciences is nothing in college short of the busy work that comes with writing.

Anonymous said...

They could really use a couple rapists in the backfield. Their running game has been terrible.

Anonymous said...

Yes, our military posture vis-a-vis Notre Dame has greatly improved, but what's our preparedness level for the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl

and watch out for Y2K, dudes said...

Somewhat OT but that 60 Minutes segment/press release for the NSA tonight was hilarious. You see, all computers have this thingamajig called a "BIOS" -- warning, lotsa super-technical terms are involved here -- and now Dread Pirate Snowden has developed the capability to "infect" all BIOSes and thus can destroy every computer in the world.

Anonymous said...

"The inner-city Atlanta residents angry that Braves stadium is being moved to the richer, whiter suburbs"

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2524185/The-inner-city-Atlanta-residents-angry-Braves-stadium-moved-richer-whiter-suburbs.html

"For the Braves, abandoning downtown Atlanta for the suburbs means moving closer to the team's fan base and developing money-making restaurants and amenities. Team officials say it's simply good business.

But the decision also highlights long-standing disparities over wealth, where people live and transportation - all facets of life connected to race and social class in Atlanta.

The Braves will be moving from an area that's predominantly black and relatively poor compared to whiter Cobb County - where the team says more ticket-buyers live."

JeremiahJohnbalaya said...

War is at base raping and pillaging

Whatever you say, Ghengis.

David M. said...

"It used to be that every West Point cadet was required to major in an engineering specialty, with numerous minors available. But it seems that these days, it is possible to major in other fields of studies relevant to the military."

Cadets still have to minor in engineering, and all cadets graduate with a B.S. rather than a B.A. Overall, academics are fairly tough, even for athletes. There are military and physical requirements on top of academic requirements though, and that is where athletes are treated quite differently. Athletes, particularly football players, are shielded from many non-academic requirements during the academic year. During their first year, the football players have a particularly different experience than the other cadets. That said, during summer training (cadets only get 2-3 weeks off for summer) their experiences are not so different from those of other cadets.

such, such were the joys said...

Fleming wrote a longer article more recently on this for the Chronicle of Higher Ed. The interesting part was his compare/contrast of our military academies with Europe's and Australia's. I was also surprised to hear of ridiculous "traditions" like requiring the freshmen to yell out the cafeteria menu as fast as possible being maintained as de rigueur.

Anonymous said...

" Simmons is quite good at evaluating multiple forms of evidence is because he likes evidence, while Gladwell likes ideas a lot more than he likes evidence"

Really good point here Steve. However, it's also important to remember that they're both a bunch of pussies.

Dan in DC

dearieme said...

"In the British tradition, the Army was politicised": except in the usual sense of "politicised" of course. A standing army, the view went, is a threat to liberty - that's why our army would cease to exist unless parliament renews its tenure every year. It's also why Kaiser Bill could sneer at how tiny it was. We had had quite enough of the military-religious complex under Cromwell.

Anonymous said...

Why would they bother cheating in the first place? Notre Dame is but a shadow of it's former self even given playing for the BCS national championship last year where they got thoroughly trounced by Alabama. What great athlete is going to want to fulfill a 5 year service requirement after four years of college? Especially for football where careers are much shorter. In basketball, most top players rarely stay more than one or two years and are off to the NBA. I remember hearing about the great rivalry between Army and Navy in football as a kid, but even then it was clear to me neither team would stand a chance against modern football factories like Alabama and Ohio State and they never play them anyway.

Additionally I always viewed cheating by major universities at major sports as being driven by box office. The best players make up teams that fill 80-100,000 seat stadiums and get big TV ratings, same goes for filling 15-20,000 seat arenas for hoops, but the service academies get taxpayer subsidy all the way, they shouldn't have to worry about alumni who are car dealers slipping $500 a week to the star linebacker or power forward to keep him happy, these players simply are not that good, are there any current even above average players in pro football, baseball, or basketball that are service academy grads? What am I missing here?

Jon said...

The affirmative action in the enlisted ranks/rates, OTOH, seems to be limited to outreach aimed at getting more NAMs to take the ASVAB rather than wasting money trying to train someone with an ASVAB equivalent of an 85 IQ as an aviation machinist or 100 IQ as a submarine nuclear reactor technician.

I would like to see some "propaganda of colour" (black propaganda aimed at diversites -- my coinage) against the racist ASVAB agitating for a more "inclusive" military, including black nuclear techs in numbers proportional to their population preponderance. A Griggs v. Duke or US v. New York City lawsuit against the Army would be a gold mine for talking points (if nothing else).

David M. said...

"I was also surprised to hear of ridiculous "traditions" like requiring the freshmen to yell out the cafeteria menu as fast as possible being maintained as de rigueur."

The intent of the "ridiculous traditions" is to make life difficult for the first year cadets and then to test them under pressure. The idea being that if they can't remember what's for breakfast while someone is screaming at them, they are not likely to remember how to call for fire when someone is shooting at them. In addition to the "ridiculous" traditions, they also have to memorize military information, perform duties, etc, etc, all under the pressure of hazing. Eventually, they get used to operating in a high pressure environment.

Of course this isn't exactly something particular to the service academies or even to the U.S. military.

The biggest problem with the service academies is that they are a victim of their success. Their graduates are highly sought after in the job market so they usually don't stay for 20 year careers. Meanwhile, graduates of ROTC programs serve for just as long on average as academy graduates but cost much less to educate.

The service academies are unlikely to go anywhere though, because a disproportionately high number of those graduates who do stay end up becoming general officers, meaning there is a lot of pull to keep them around.

RAZ said...

"In the British tradition, the Army was politicized and anti-meritocratic and very much gave preference to the Church of England upper class. Officers were disproportionately from the landed aristocracy so that they wouldn't be tempted to take over the country in a military coup because they already owned it. The Royal Navy was more for careers open to talent, because it was more technologically complicated than a cavalry charge and seemed less likely to pull a coup."

Never thought of this but it makes sense. And since for much of its history Britain's Navy was arguably more important than its Army, it would be good that the "best", in terms of merit, instead of the "best", in terms of background, went to the British Navy.

Anonymous said...

Steve, what were the chances that Gladwell wouldn't think of the story involving the mulatto first?

BB753 said...

I wonder to what extent steroid abuse makes young oversexed athletes more likely to act upon their urges?
Ultimately, coaches and team administrators are also guilty.Who provides the juice?

The Anti-Gnostic said...

"For the Braves, abandoning downtown Atlanta for the suburbs means moving closer to the team's fan base and developing money-making restaurants and amenities. Team officials say it's simply good business.

Ive been yelling at my radio over this for months. Turner Field is not even "downtown." It's below downtown on the other side of that concrete river known as I-20, which marks the border of Atlanta's Southside.

Atlanta's southside is like most big city southsides.

Anonymous said...

The author ends on a dumb note. There's no public interest in making sure every race is represented among the officer corps fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan?

flambeaux said...

"That said, during summer training (cadets only get 2-3 weeks off for summer) their experiences are not so different from those of other cadets."

Coddling of athletes is not a recent phenomenon.
I entered the Naval Academy in 1991. I left before graduation and took my degree elsewhere. Plebe year for jocks was a joke. As a specific example, I roomed with a huge lummox who had been recruited to play on the offensive line. One week into plebe summer he feigned the loss of his voice and went through the remainder of the summer smiling and pointing as though he was a mute. No sounding off, no recitation of facts, menus and minutiae on pain of doing PT. He was essentially invisible to upperclassmen for the purposes of plebe hazing antics. And once the academic year began he had dedicated tutoring for all of his academic subjects. No idea if he was ever commissioned or if he he ever started for Navy.

jody said...

air force had a decent team over the last 5 years, until the collapse this year.

when i did my 1 week at west point as a potential recruit back in the 90s, they tried to recruit me for some of the army sports teams. some of their facilities sucked. they are probably better now, but checking them out at the time, i don't know how they were able to get any good D1 players. yet once in a while they did.

they did have one interesting thing though. the psychology lab had a very advanced stress management trainer (for the time) that they also used to help the sports teams. they would simulate game situations with noise and light and try to condition you over time to not have an immediate reaction to that and to instead stay calm. they put us recruits in that thing and our heart rates shot up 100% the first time in. the panic reaction was real, and they measured it in the lab. it was eye opening.

"Do Army/Navy/AF/Coast Guard also spend money operating lots of useless Title IX sports"

army doesn't that i can see.

"It used to be that every West Point cadet was required to major in an engineering specialty"

this wasn't true when i checked it out, although all the majors were science or math type stuff, and you could probably only get a BS at west point, there were no BAs. there were some chemistry and math professors who weren't terrible, and a few of the female recruits wanted to do those fields and didn't show much interest in engineering.

i shudder to think what it's like now, with the increase in women, introduction of homos, and totally nonsensical foreign recruits. i'm guessing a lot of those foreigners are brought in with all qualifications waived.

jody said...

funny thing is that army has a better swim team than navy some years. not this year though.

air force has a better swim team than navy this year, however.

Whiskey said...

War is now running incredibly complex, hideously effective killing machines. This is very bad for the Navy which has positioned itself as the alternative to the Army and CIA/Air Force drone forces as being able to both keep China out of the Co Prosperity Sphere business and able to whack a jihadi when needed.

There have been numerous incidents, subs and destroyers running into reefs, near collisions with civilian vessels in shipping lanes, etc. to say that the Navy is not what it once was.

And the margin is gone -- the Navy has fewer ships than it did in 1915, with a much greater global responsibility as global naval hegemon providing the US with a global advantage (not the least of which is dollar support -- nations buy the hegemon's money because it is a call basically on protection).

This seems at least as bad as Truman's desire to abolish the Navy and rely on a few nuclear armed aircraft. But there is no corresponding "Revolt of the Admirals."

Why? Because JK Rowling nailed one thing. Guys will forgive ANYTHING in jocks that run with footballs really well*

*In one of the books a conspirator with the chief bad guy Voldemort is let go because he was a "Quiddich" star or something and a good old boy.

Anonymous said...

If it was up to me, the academies would turn into Sandhurst-esque places instead of 4 years institutions. Sandhurst is not a 3/4 year institution like west point, Annapolis, AFA, or USCGA.

I do not think academies provide any added value over ROTC in regards to officer quality or ability to execute the mission.

The British have a better model and much more cost effective.

I would like to see us take the money spent on academies and put it towards more ROTC slots as well as OCS.

Anonymous said...

So is this like Mack Brown being forced to step down this week, while it also came out a few months ago that he didn't recruit Jameis Winston?

wiseguy

MKP said...

"In a wholly unrelated New York Times story last September"

Sarcasm. Meaning, of course, you've got a story you think IS related. Sure, let's hear it.

"Navy Hearing in Rape Case Raises Alarm
...
For roughly 30 hours over several days, defense lawyers for three former United States Naval Academy football players grilled a female midshipman about her sexual habits."

All I've heard is an accusation. Is the Sailer-sphere ready to dispense with the idea of a trial?
Her sexual past is being grilled? Good. Why shouldn't it be? Girls get to go out and get drunk and fuck a train of athletes every day for 10 straight days, then cry rape on the 11th day, and no one gets to hear about the first 10? Nobody in this plugged-in and hyper-aware comment section thinks that's relevant?

We're all supposed to rush in and protect the "virtue" of drunken skanks who suck the dick of every HAWT GUY she can find, when she finally cries rape? Why? Because she's white?

Exactly how committed to their race, and to its protection and propagation, are these drunken, athlete-fucking white groupy chicks anyway? Now there's a question nobody here wants to answer.

So it's our job to wait until they eventually cry rape, suddenly pretend they're our precious, virtuous white sisters, and rush in and protect them?

Fuck that. You hear me, Steve? Fuck that.

Paul Mendez said...

...the Naval Academy... has lost its way. The same is true of the other service academies.

Name one single US institution that hasn't lost its way since 1968. Every day, I see everything around me unraveling.

It's like listening to the endless squeal of skidding tires, and just waiting for the final thump.

pat said...

You're right about the traditions of the Royal Navy versus the Army. I recently read all the Hornblower books and then Forrester's book on the contemporaneous Peninsula War - 'Rifleman Dodd'.

Forrester always describes Hornblower's intellect. He is well read, scholarly and can do 3D trigonometry in his head. In contrast Dodd - one of the famous green coats like Cornwell's Richard Sharpe - is portrayed as almost mentally defective. Yet Dodd is if anything a more remarkable hero. He is illiterate and ignorant but manages to single handedly ruin the French offensive.

In Dodd Forrester describes Wellington himself as a genius and that seems fair. So it seems the it isn't just brains but rather the distribution of brains that matters.

A British red coat really needed only one skill - rapid fire. The British infantry beat all others because the private soldiers were so well drilled in the mechanical operations of loading and firing a muzzle loading musket.

At sea however it took months if not years for anyone even for those before the mast to learn how a sailing ship worked. An able seaman was a skilled worker in a way that an infantryman just wasn't.

Similarly a junior lieutenant at sea might find himself responsible for the life of the ship and everyone on it when higher ranked officers were killed or wounded. Because casualties aboard ship were greater, the higher the rank, that could and did happen.

Low ranking officers in the Army didn't get those kind of opportunities. Junior officers were expected to be brave but not innovative. The Green Coats were a partial exception.

At the very top Admirals were in a sort of sinecure. They were semi-retired. The real fire breathers were the captains of the frigates. This is exactly the opposite from land warfare. The fate of the whole army and indeed the nation rested on the competence of the commanding general alone.

So any dullard could command a group of musketeers. They didn't employ strategy or even tactics. They just marched forward to face a similar line of enemy with muskets. They didn't maneuver. they didn't feint. They just stood in a line and killed each other at very short range.

This was an excellent career for second sons.

At sea however even the midshipmen had to study. The ability to comprehend navigation was the ability that kept the flogged and mistreated seamen under control.

But land armies are if anything even more dependent on the top leader's ability than are those at sea. Hannibal and Scipio, Wellington and Napoleon these and many others cases from history are cases of genius being defeated by even greater genius.

But on land you only seem to need only one smart guy, whereas at sea everyone has to be sharp just to stay afloat.

I'm probably overstating this.

Albertosaurus

Anonymous said...

"funny thing is that army has a better swim team than navy some years. not this year though."

The Navy could care less if most of its people know how to swim. Unless you are a SEAL or in another very small, specialized job, by the time you are in the water swimming, you are of no further use to the Navy.

Paradoxically, swimming is a lot more important for your average grunt in the USMC or Army than a sailor in the Navy, at least from the perspective of the respective institutions.

Anonymous said...

Navy have an upper weight limit of 255lbs because years of experience showed that this was the limit to effectiveness onboard ships.
Jared Lorenzen could not play for them.

Anonymous said...

"Ive been yelling at my radio over this for months. Turner Field is not even "downtown." It's below downtown on the other side of that concrete river known as I-20, which marks the border of Atlanta's Southside.

Atlanta's southside is like most big city southsides."

And Cobb County ain't all that white anymore either. The only parts of the county that have a sizeable White majority are affluent East Cobb and the fringes at the North and West, like Kennesaw. South Cobb is majority black, and the area just north of the I-75 interchange - where the new stadium will be built - is more like 50/50. Cobb County in general has deteriorated to the point where East Cobb is considering forming their own city, so the rest of the county doesn't leech off its taxes so much.

Anonymous said...

Army football coach fired for not recruiting enough rapists

Uhh, any fool be knowin dat be some racidm right dayah.

Word.

Geoff Matthews said...

What if they dropped (American) football, and emphasized rugby instead?
The two sports have a similar mindset (move the ball, hit the opposing team, and, to a lesser degree, play your position), but without the big money associated with it, it wouldn't attract the type of marginal folks who excel at it.
Do Navy alum really care about the football program?

Anonymous said...

BB753, you're a high testosterone 19-year old guy in tremendous shape who's had people praising you and girls throwing themselves at you since you first showed an off-the-charts ability to dunk, run with or hit a ball at age 14.

No juice necessary.

Anonymous said...

Lowering the standards for athletes and race are part and parcel of the rampant pc that is flourishing at the academies. If anyone watched the march on prior to the 2013 Army Navy game you would have noticed that roughly half of the leadership positions were filled by female cadets. They don't make up 20% of the corps but they occupy almost 50% of the upper leadership positions. You think this math is not obvious to the cadets? They are keenly aware that future promotions and leadership positions will no longer be based on merit but on what victim-hood class you can fill. The future of our nation will be not be in the hands of the best leaders but in the hands of the best political ass kissers or those that fill a quota.

ring-knockers across the Interwebs said...

Just about everything in the public-relations comment by "David M." above is false. Specifically to the relationship between academy graduates who become officers it's contradicted by public record (nearly 2/3rds of officers come from ROTC, not the academies). It's really great that you derive psychic satisfaction from the perpetual tribal traditions at Ye Olde Grey Line; put your money where your mouth is and take over your part of the lavish taxpayer subsidy for this man-in-uniform theater troupe that contributes billions to Pentagon bloat, if not to the less glamorous project of national defense by any substantial measure.