The athletic department at the Air Force Academy will be investigated after a thorough report from the Colorado Springs Gazette revealed details of wild parties with sexual abuse and drug use as well as academic wrongdoing.
The Gazette compiled the report using allegations from documents released by the Air Force under the Freedom of Information Act. Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson, who has been in her current post since Aug. 12, 2013, confirmed that she has called for an Inspector General's investigation of the athletic department.
"These efforts will help in eliminating subcultures whose climates do not align with our institutional core values," she said in a statement released Thursday exclusively to The Gazette. Johnson said the academy has taken steps to correct the problems within the athletic department. "Despite all of our efforts, I expect we'll still have issues with a few young people who will make poor choices," she wrote.
Documents newly released to The Gazette reveal how serious those "poor choices" of the past have been. They detail parties dating to 2010 where cadets, including a core group of top football players, smoked synthetic marijuana, drank themselves sick and may have used date-rape drugs to incapacitate women for sexual assault.
The culture was so wild that academy leaders canceled a planned 2012 sting out of concern that undercover agents and confidential informants at a party wouldn't be enough to protect women from rape.
Many of the details come from agents of the school's Office of Special Investigations. Using confidential informants, the OSI was able to gather information from the parties where most of the alleged misconduct took place. In 2011-12, the OSI ran a dragnet "that probed the activities of 32 cadets, including 16 football players and several other athletes."
Of those 16 football players, only seven stayed at the school through graduation. Two football players were court martialed and discharged, two were dismissed and the rest reportedly were in a group of cadets that resigned or "were kicked out for unrelated conduct."
The report is thorough, and very troubling considering the complicated world where Air Force (and other service academies) exist between big-time college athletics and government service. You can find the entire report online at The Gazette.