The Air Force Academy has decided that it will not allow its athletes to defer two years of active duty service in order to play professional sports after graduation, according to reporting by Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post.
The decision comes just before the school’s all-time leading receiver, Jalen Robinette, was expected to be selected in the NFL draft.
“The Air Force notified Academy officials (Thursday) that the service would not approve requests to waiver active duty military service commitments for cadet athletes,” the Academy said in a statement obtained by Jhabvala. “Cadets will be required to serve two years active duty prior to entering Ready Reserve status, which would permit their participation in professional sports.”
There has been no change in the Department of Defense’s policy, which allows athletes to apply for Ready Reserve status immediately upon graduation in order to join a pro team. Now, however, the Air Force will not honor those requests for deferral. (The Army and Naval Academies have not changed their policies, according to Jhabvala.)
Without an option to defer, Robinette would have to spend two years in active duty before being able to pursue an NFL career.