New Bill Could Crush Army Star’s NFL Dreams: ‘Produce Warfighters, Not Professional Athletes’

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In 2023, star linebacker Andre Carter II could be a first-round NFL Draft pick with a multi-million dollar contract. Or he could be an active duty Army soldier. But it’s not up to him.

The 6-foot-7, 260-pound Army Black Knights star is Mel Kiper’s 22-ranked player for the upcoming draft. That’s a pretty impressive feat considering the school hasn’t had a first-round pick since 1947 and has had only two players drafted since 1969.

Enter buzzkill Congressman Mike Gallagher from Wisconsin. Gallagher introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would require athletes at military academies to fulfill their service obligation before pursuing professional sports.

That obligation is, according to Army, five years of active duty and three years in the individual ready reserve.

“U.S. military service academies exist to produce warfighters,” Gallagher said, “not professional athletes.”

Army Linebacker Andre Carter II is Mel Kiper’s 22-ranked player in the 2023 NFL Draft. (Photo by Edward Diller/Getty Images)

The Bill Is Headed To Joe Biden’s Desk

As of now, military academy athletes have the ability to apply for a waiver to delay their active service requirement and immediately pursue a career in sports. Former President Donald Trump pushed this rule through in 2019.

However, the rule could be revoked as early as next week… along with Carter’s chances of going pro.

“Here’s the thing that’s so painful,” Carter’s mother Melissa said. “You guide your son to do the right things because it’s right. And it’s really disappointing that it’s not reciprocated. This has been his goal since childhood, to go into the NFL. Every step of the way, that was on track, until we saw this article.”

Melissa said this change could force her son to choose between his two biggest goals: graduating from the United States Military Academy and playing professional football.

All Junior Year Cadets Must “Affirm” With The School

This means they agree both to serve after graduation and to pay back tuition costs if they don’t graduate. If Carter reneged on his agreement, it would mean throwing away all the work he’s already done and having a hefty financial debt to repay.

“He’s so upset,” his father Andre said. “He was literally, visually upset because of the uncertainty. When you’re in the military, everything is precise. To have something at the eleventh hour kind of thrown out there when you are so used to having a regiment; he’s in a fog about the whole thing.”

After some backlash, the dream-crushing politician who introduced the amendment redeemed himself slightly. Congressman Gallagher says if the bill is signed, he will seek a legacy exception that would apply to Carter and other current athletes at service academies.

Carter’s career depends on it.

Written by Amber Harding

Amber is a Midwestern transplant living in Murfreesboro, TN. She spends most of her time taking pictures of her dog, explaining why real-life situations are exactly like "this one time on South Park," and being disappointed by the Tennessee Volunteers.

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  1. Every Cadet signs agreements/contracts upon entering West Point. The taxpayers provide benefit to them. In return, they promise to fufllfill the promise of service. That’s the reality.
    I appreciate his athletic ability has blossomed while at West Point. If his career goals exiting high school were as a professional football player, he should have choosen another university that did not include promises of military service upon conclusion of that education.

    • I doubt he believed he could be an NFL QB when he left high school for West Point, otherwise he would have gone to a football factory school or a lower P5 school. Almost any D1 school has a better history of putting out NFL players than a service academy. Some players develop late, with David Robinson being the best example of them all.

      Service academy attendees and grads do have to commit after they start their junior year. But that does not mean they are forbidden to leave. If they leave after their commitment, they are required to pay back the “free” tuition and any stipends they received up to that point. If they leave before their junior year, they are not required to pay anything.

      In reality, this 6′ 7″ QB can do more for the Army in PR in the NFL than he ever could as a soldier. That is not to say he would not be an excellent officer, but he can serve the Army better in a public role as a professional athlete, much like David Robinson did.

      I don’t know why people are so keen to “punish” someone who got into a service academy who suddenly realizes their athletic potential, but will fight tooth and nail for a C-minus student but monster prospect to get a million dollars in NIL money to go to Ohio State for doing nothing, THEN be able to transfer to Texas a year later without consequence (despite his “commitment” to the team and school), suck ass, get injured, and still defend him because of his “drive.” Who could never in a million years dream of being accepted into a school like West Point. But the cadet is the bad guy. LOL

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