One difference between regular college athetics and the service academies has been the West Point, the Naval Academy and the Air Force Academy were primarily places that trained future officers and only secondarily engaged in college sports. No more though, the Naval Academy along with the rest is now just another big time athletic scandal.
have you ever heard of the Naval Academy Preparatory School, or NAPS as it’s called? In Newport, R.I., close to the Naval War College, NAPS was founded in 1915 as a place where enlisted men with officer potential could get up to speed academically before entering the Naval Academy.
. . .
Jim Kenney, a retired Navy captain who was the commanding officer of the Navy prep school from 1978-82, recalled that in his era maybe four football players had been enrolled. “Today,” he said, “it is dominated by athletes.”
McKinney says that recruited athletes made up only 35 percent of the current NAPS class. But their effect on Navy athletics is huge. Seventy-five percent of the current football team got into the Naval Academy through NAPS, according to the Midshipmen football media guide. More than half the men’s basketball team went to NAPS, and 60 percent of the women’s basketball team. There have been years when 80 percent of the lacrosse team’s players were NAPS graduates.
In addition to a free education, the Navy gives NAPS students $1,000 a month.
. . . .
What was NAPS like for the athletes? The athletics were intense, and the academics none too stressful, recalled Peter Banos, who played basketball there in 2008. “There was all sorts of tutoring,” he said, “but really, it was like another year of high school.”
Banos added: “We had cars, we could visit friends, and we were flush with cash. It was high school kids getting paid.” And if, after a year at NAPS, a student decided not to go the academy, the Navy didn’t ask for its money back. Banos left the Naval Academy after his freshman year.
So how to enjoy college football today, even the Army -Navy game? Just remember that these teams have nothing in common with the school they are named for except the school name. Really, just a bunch of pro athletes being exploited by colleges and universities for our enjoyment.