Army has only had one winning college football season since 1996, and now they're having problems off the field too. According to a report in the Colorado Springs The Gazette—which West Point officials did not dispute—in February the team treated recruits to "an alcohol-fueled party, a dinner date with female cadets, cash from boosters and VIP treatment on a party bus complete with cheerleaders and a police escort." The bus trip for recruits has reportedly existed for over 10 years, since the tenure of Bobby Ross.
While the misdeeds are abhorrent, they seem somewhat tame compared to what we're used to hearing about recruiting scandals, like the one at Oklahoma State. The heart of the transgression lies in a bus trip the recruits and players took to a local bowling alley "known for turning a blind eye to underage drinking":
Booster money allocated for the evening was handed across the bar and alcohol came back. Cadets said they ordered "beer towers" containing quarts of the beverage and allowed recruits - high school athletes - to drink their fill.
Some cadets reported having as many as seven drinks in 90 minutes before a wild bus ride home. Some of the hosts handed leftover booster money to the recruits, the report found. West Point said it has no accounting of how much money was spent or how it was spent that night.
The ride home was raucous.
"The trip consisted of the (charter) bus driver allowing the music to play very loudly, dancing in the aisles, strobe lights flashing iPhones to reflect the club-like atmosphere," Miller wrote.
The investigator also found that two female cheerleaders began making out amid the bus party, adding a sexual charge to the scene. The cheerleaders also kissed a football player and a recruit.
As is sadly typical in the cases, is appears West Point tried to cover it up. Officials started investigating over a month after the recruiting visit occurred, and found that head coach Jeff Monken and others knew about it but didn't tell West Point or the NCAA. A spokesperson told The Gazette that the school didn't publicly reveal the incident because the punishments handed out were "administrative" and didn't impact athletic eligibility. The players involved were pulled from a spring practice game, two football staff members were suspended for a week, and two others were "admonished."
West Point ultimately self-reported the violations to the NCAA and picked up a warning, and promised Monken he will be suspended if similar infractions occur again.
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