Thursday, May 4, 2017

True service time

Last June the Twins used their third-round pick on a pitcher from the Air Force Academy, Griffin Jax, who pitched that summer in Elizabethton before returning to the academy in Colorado Springs for his senior year. The idea was that he would be allowed to meet his service requirement

The edict from Defense Secretary James Mattis means Jax will have to serve at least two years in the active Air Force (he'll be commissioned a second lieutenant upon graduation) before he can resume his baseball career.

I'm fine with that, as I said last year in this post:

My take on the service academies is: The nation has a deal with these students. We the people provide a no-charge, high-level college education, and we get well-trained military officers. I object to the notion that they can/should be encouraged/allowed to walk away from that bargain three years in, with a heavy public investment in that bargain.
The Twins, and Jax, may not be thrilled with this decision, but he's not the first academy grad to find himself in this situation. Roger Staubach (football) and David Robinson (basketball) each had to put in their two years with the Navy before launching their Hall-of-Fame careers in their respective sports.

Jax is not the only athlete affected by Mattis' ruling. According to The Gazette (Colorado Springs), an Air Force receiver named Jalen Robinette was expected to be a fourth or fifth round pick in last week's NFL draft. Academy officials notified Robinette on Thursday that he would not be permitted to petition out of his active service requirement, and he was not drafted.

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