November 3, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswomen Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco/San Mateo Counties) sent a letter today to Lieutenant General Robert Caslen, Superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, calling upon him to suspend the football coaching staff pending an independent investigation into recent reports of illegal and unethical recruiting practices for the West Point football team.

“When you think of West Point, you think of serving your country, not serving beer to underage recruits,” said Speier. “The Army Football office should use its history on the field, its academic excellence, and its opportunities for leadership to recruit potential student-athletes. Instead, they used Academy funds for binge drinking and offering dinner dates with female cadets to entice recruits. Cadets, officers, and coaches were found to be culpable for this incident, but received nothing more than a slap on the wrist. This event wasn’t just an isolated incident, it is indicative of a broad cultural problem in military academy athletics. The entire program needs a wakeup call.”

This incident is one of many involving military academy athletics to come to light. In the last week, the Air Force Academy has acknowledged that it has a culture tolerating sexual violence by its football players and other cadet athletes. Last year, West Point’s Rugby team was temporarily disbanded for circulating lewd and misogynistic e-mails including reports of a cadet having his “dick touched by some rando skank" and jokes about female cadets and “black strap ons.” In a high-profile 2012 case, three football players from the Naval Academy were accused of sexual assault against fellow midshipman.

Congresswoman Speier requested a meeting with the Lieutenant General to discuss this situation and his response. In addition, she requested full access to the investigation report on the incident, further information about cadets, officers, and other staff members involved in this incident, what disciplinary measures were taken, and information on any previous inappropriate incidents among West Point athletic teams. Finally, she requested that the Inspector General at West Point immediately open an investigation into this incident and West Point’s athletics department.