President Donald Trump said Monday he is considering a waiver that would permit service academy athletes to play professional sports before performing their military service.
Trump announced the news at an event where he presented the Army Black Knights with a Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy for winning their football series. The president gives this trophy each year to either the U.S. Military Academy, the U.S. Naval Academy or the U.S. Air Force Academy, according to CBS News.
The president said a move to allow such deferral would help with recruiting.
“I think that sounds good, right?” Trump asked.
The Department of Defense began allowing service member athletes to apply to the Ready Reserve and defer their military service in order go pro in 2016. However, just as athletes were preparing to be drafted into the National Football League in 2017, the Department of Defense revised this policy, according to the Military Times.
A Pentagon spokeswoman said officers’ education and military training come from taxpayer dollars intended to create the American military.
“Our military academies exist to develop future officers who enhance the readiness and the lethality of our military services,” Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said in a 2017 statement, according to the Military Times. “Graduates enjoy the extraordinary benefit of a military academy education at taxpayer expense.”
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