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USNA scuttles Navy QB's career

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by slappy4428, Apr 13, 2007.

  1. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    Navy secretary orders ex-quarterback expelled from Annapolis

    ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Former Navy quarterback Lamar Owens will not be allowed to graduate from the Naval Academy.

    Navy officials say Owens will be expelled with no degree and will have to repay the school more than $90,000.

    Owens was acquitted of rape charges last July but convicted of two lesser offenses, including conduct unbecoming an officer.

    In deciding to expel Owens, Navy Secretary Donald Winter deemed his conduct "unsatisfactory'' and ordered him discharged.

    Owens was starting quarterback for Navy last season, leading the team to an 8-4 record with victories over Army and Air Force, and a win over Colorado State in the Poinsettia Bowl.

    Owens can appeal to the Board for Correction of Naval Records, which has the authority to waive the debt, seek congressional intervention or sue the government to obtain his degree.
  2. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

  3. Freelance Hack

    Freelance Hack Active Member

    So, he's good enough to play football, but not graduate? That seems a little hypocritical.
  4. I'm going to give the USNA the benefit of the doubt and say they went with innocent-until-proven-guilty and let the process play out before the canned him.
  5. Oz

    Oz Active Member

    What I was about to post.
  6. Armchair_QB

    Armchair_QB Well-Known Member

    Too bad Duke didn't do that.
  7. Del_B_Vista

    Del_B_Vista Active Member

    The story's not very clear, but he didn't play in 2006. That all happened after the '05 season, when he was a senior. Not sure what he did last year, but I'm sure he's very knowledgable about copy machine operations in Annapolis.
  8. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member

    Sucks for Owens, but conduct unbecoming a Midshippman is conduct unbecoming. I don't feel nearly as sorry for him as I do this guy I read about from a year ago (had to pull it off nexis). The Naval Academy is a rough place sometimes.

    Seconds short, Mid bitter over expulsion



    LENGTH: 1578 words

    Frank Shannon was 20 seconds short.

    Twenty seconds from graduation at the U.S. Naval Academy, from his tour of duty on the USS James E. Williams and from a career as a naval officer.

    A former offensive lineman with shoulders that span almost 3 feet, Shannon had struggled with the academy's distance-run requirement of 1.5 miles in less than 10 minutes, 30 seconds.

    He usually made it, although rarely on the first try. In January, however, his best time was 10 minutes, 50 seconds, and in March he was expelled from the academy for failing the test.

    When his friends throw their hats into the air tomorrow, Shannon will be pulling another shift at a home improvement store.

    He has invested two years in the Navy, one in the academy's preparatory school and four at the school itself. But he has no degree and no Navy commission, and he owes the U.S. government more than $127,000 for his education. Students pay no tuition unless they are expelled.

    "It doesn't seem feasible," said Shannon of Middle River. "I'm 24 and getting married with all this debt and no degree, after all this work. What do I have to show for it?"

  9. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member

    Another source of frustration is that the academy's standards are higher than the Navy's or the other service academies'. Shannon's time would have easily met the Navy requirement for a junior officer of his age.

    The U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., gives cadets 14 minutes to run 1.5 miles. The U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., and the Army have the same standard, 16:34 for two miles for a 24-year-old, which would have given Shannon plenty of wiggle room.

    Unlike midshipmen, West Point cadets are given multiple opportunities to retake the test, even past the graduation date.

    The Naval Academy declined to comment specifically about Shannon's case, but Vice Adm. Rodney P. Rempt wrote in a March letter to U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski that Shannon "failed to display the desire to meet the standard."

    Academy officials also said all midshipmen are treated the same and that any failings are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

    Anyone who believes the process is unfair is "incorrect," said Marine Col. David Fuquea, deputy commandant of midshipmen. "This institution is responsible for training graduates who immediately will be committed to the global war on terror," he said. "We cannot afford to send someone out to lead sailors and Marines that has not met the standard morally, mentally and physically."

    Since 2001, 66 midshipmen have been expelled for failing physical tests.

    David Segal, director of the Center for Research on Military Organization at the University of Maryland, questioned the academy's inflexibility and wondered why it won't allow Shannon to graduate and pay back the government.

    "If he's willing to repay the taxpayers' cost of his education," Segal said, "my inclination would be to recommend he get the degree."

    Shannon is a 1999 graduate of Eastern Technical High School in Essex, where he was class president, captain of the football and wrestling teams, an Eagle Scout and a member of the National Honor Society.

    More than 50 universities expressed interest in the standout lineman. The University of Maryland and the University of Hawaii offered him full scholarships, but he turned them all down to go to the Naval Academy, even though it had rejected his application.

    He enlisted in the Navy's nuclear power training program in Goose Creek, S.C., where sailors gain the technical know-how to serve on submarines and aircraft carriers.

    After a year, Shannon moved to Saratoga Springs, N.Y., to help train new enlistees in nuclear engineering. At age 19, he was offered a teaching position and a promotion to a midlevel rank, with a $50,000 bonus.

    He turned that down to go to the Naval Academy Preparatory School in Newport, R.I., hoping for a chance to go to Annapolis.

    A year later, the academy accepted him, and he arrived on campus as a plebe in 2002.

    Shannon had been slated to join the varsity football squad, but new head coach Paul Johnson had a different vision for the team, and Shannon was not a part of it. As an athlete, Shannon would not have been required to meet the academy's distance-run requirement until just before graduation.

    In addition to the run, male midshipmen must do at least 65 sit-ups in two minutes and 45 pushups in two minutes, tests that were no problem for Shannon.

    Lithe younger men and women make up most of the brigade of midshipmen. Shannon is 6 feet 3 inches tall, weighs 245 pounds and can bench-press that weight 12 times.

    Midshipmen must complete a physical education program that includes swimming, boxing and martial arts. They also have to play a sport on the varsity, club or intramural level.

    "We expect our midshipmen to be athletes," said Capt. Greg Cooper, the school's deputy director of athletics and head of the physical education department. "Just as chemistry or physics or naval science is required to graduate, so is PE. If a midshipman is unable to meet PE standards, they can't graduate."

    About 4 percent of midshipmen, 160 of the total 4,000, fail the physical test in a typical semester and are immediately placed into a remedial program. They must quit most extracurricular activities and spend hours in the morning or afternoon training for the test until they pass it.

    The academy tracks their progress, sends out letters of reprimand and warning, and eventually convenes a review board if they continue to fail.

    Shannon went before a final review board in March after falling short on the run for the fourth time this academic year. The board was chaired by Rempt.

  10. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member

    Cooper defended the academy's higher standard.

    "The physical readiness test here is not a mere image of readiness in the Navy," he said. "We expect graduates to lead by example and lead at the front. We expect them to be more than average. We expect them to excel."

    The academy would not provide information about Shannon's case, but he gave The Sun a copy of Rempt's letter to Mikulski, which said Shannon is lazy.

    "For your information, the recent Board considered the fact that Midshipman Shannon has failed 12 of 18 physical readiness tests given to him at the academy and that he has not passed the run portion since February 2005," Rempt wrote. "The Board also noted that Midshipman Shannon was more than capable of passing the test when he applied himself."

    Shannon was heartbroken.

    "To have people say you're not giving your all when you're out there every day at 5:30 a.m. and covered in vomit, it's terrible," Shannon said. "When you fail PRT [the physical readiness test], they act like you're just ... useless."

    Rempt also said in the letter that Shannon had numerous unauthorized absences to the remedial program. Shannon said that is not true.

    Six current and former midshipmen who spoke to The Sun said Rempt is wrong, that they went to remedial training with Shannon and could not recall a day when he wasn't there.

    "I ran it with him," said a former midshipman who asked not to be identified because he is not authorized to speak publicly. "I was right there next to him and helped him pace and run a very good time."

    Many midshipmen have the impression that because of Navy cutbacks, the academy is more likely than in the past to expel those who fall short.

    "If you were trying to meet the standard, they would try to help you," said the former midshipman, now an ensign.

    Cooper, the physical education director, said the academy tries to keep midshipmen, not look for reasons to kick them out.

    "As long as a midshipman is trying and demonstrating effort, the academy bends over backward in every respect to keep them here," he said.

    Shannon said he knows of several graduating midshipmen who have not passed their physical tests and of others who have been allowed to graduate without commissions.

    Cooper said all remedial cases are treated equally and that midshipmen are allowed to graduate without passing the physical test and without a commission only when they are injured.

    The worst part about being kicked out, Shannon said, is the debt. In addition to the $127,000 cost of his education, he owes $35,000 on a loan he took out. Offered to midshipmen in their junior or senior year, the loan has a 0.75 percent interest rate and must be repaid within four years. Now that he has been expelled, the interest rate is 18 percent.

    Shannon's mother, Susan Schaub, a receptionist at a university who just bought the home in Middle River, has no way to pay back the money. His job as a store supervisor doesn't pay nearly enough to permit him to repay it.

    If he had been allowed to graduate from the academy's electrical engineering program, in which he had earned a 2.8 grade-point average, he would have eventually earned a hefty salary.

    But of the 236 credit hours he earned during the past seven years, only 60 can transfer, meaning Shannon would have to attend college full time for two years to get a bachelor's degree.

    Schaub and Shannon's fiancee, Gloria Mangano, said he has become bitter and listless.

    "He takes it out on the wrong people," said Mangano, who is to marry him June 10. "He put in seven years and has walked away with it and has nothing to show for it but a bunch of letters and debt."

    Shannon said he would return to the academy or the Navy immediately if allowed to do so.

    "I miss the place," he said. "I would like nothing more than to graduate and make $28,000 a year as a naval officer, rather than $50,000 in something else."


  11. This is apparently going to replace OJ as the newest greatest-injustice-in-history trope.
  12. Armchair_QB

    Armchair_QB Well-Known Member


    He's going to be on a fucking boat. How far do they expect him to run?
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