Air Force Academy Superintendent Orders Investigation Into Athletic Department

The superintendent of the Air Force Academy has ordered an investigation into the Academy's Athletic Program.

This comes in response to our partners at The Gazette asking questions.

According to The Gazette, the AFA's inspector general will be looking into all areas of the athletic department.

Gazette reporter Tom Roeder has been working through hundreds of pages of government documents and doing interviews for their own investigation, which will be published Sunday.

"We looked at athletics and what's going on with in that program there was a period of time within the sports programs where they had a lot of bad things happen and those of the documented. court-martials for sexual assault cadets were kicked out for misconduct we look at those times and we also looked at athletics at the Air Force Academy as a system what's influencing this behavior within that program," Roeder told 11 News.

The AFA has a strict code of conduct that all cadets--including student-athletes--are expected to follow.

"Sources tell us it's tough to compete and meet that standard," Roeder said.

Prompted by The Gazette's investigation, Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson has announced that the Academy is beginning their own. Johnson told The Gazette in a statement that she has requested that the AFA inspector general begins a review of the athletic department's mission elements.

"These efforts will help in eliminating subcultures at the Air Force's Academy whose climates do not align with our institutional core values," she told the paper.

The AFA also released a statement by Johnson to 11 News. It reads in full:

A 2011 - 2012 investigation stemming from a party in December 2011 led to the disenrollment and prosecution of several intercollegiate, as well as other, cadets. This past behavior was troubling and suggested certain subcultures that were inconsistent with the Culture of Commitment and Climate of Respect we work hard to uphold at USAFA.

In part, recognition of this prior misconduct has caused us to refocus on our culture and climate. Since my arrival a year ago, we’ve taken a number of actions across the campus with the objective to even more deeply ingrain a culture consistent with our core values. This past year I realigned a senior position to work directly for me as the sole point of contact for culture, climate and diversity issues. This office is aligning and monitoring our cultural sensors across the installation.

Furthermore, I, along with my senior staff, have continued to emphasize accountability not just with the cadets, but with the permanent party.

I’ve personally visited the Athletic Department on several occasions to meet with the coaches and administrators to communicate my expectations and to highlight their important role in cadet development. The Athletic Department has responded. They’ve implemented several programs to ensure all cadet-athletes are living up to the Air Force’s core values. They established the Respect and Character Enrichment (RACE) committee that meets weekly to ensure teams and athletes are living up to our expectations. They recently sponsored a “Mentors in Violence Prevention Program” that included a seminar to over 120 athletes, including the football team, on gender violence. Additionally, as part of the new AF-wide Commander’s Inspector General (IG) program, I’ve asked the USAFA IG to start their review of the Mission Elements with the Athletic Department. These efforts will help in eliminating subcultures at the Air Force’s Academy whose climates do not align with our institutional core values.

A positive example of how the cadets are living up to the culture we expect includesa recently self-produced Cadet Athletes against Sexual Violence video.It shows our athletes making a pledge that they’ll take action to stop sexual violence. I also met with the Football Leadership Councillast spring and am encouraged that they aretaking ownership of their team’s climate.

Despite all of our efforts, I expect we’ll still have issues with a few young people who will make poor choices. However, I continue to pledge transparency and an emphasis on cadet development that provides the right culture and climate so that we can remain focused on the development of all 4,000 cadets and our bright future.

Click here for The Gazette's preview of their investigation.