Monday, August 17, 2020

Why Academy Prep Schools?

This morning, my daily news summary from had this headline:

Midshipman Guilty of Sexual Assault Gets 25 years, Dismissed from Service

Which concerned the aborted military career of one Nixon Keago, prior enlisted service Marine Corp, graduate of the Naval Academy Preparatory School, and erstwhile soccer player for the USNA, Annapolis.

Several things point to his being a first-generation American:

  • Soccer is an uncommon sport among black Americans, but hugely popular in Africa.

  • Mr. Keago's appearance strikes me as more African that black American.

  • "Keago" is a Kenyan name, not a typical black American name.

  • "Nixon" is an unlikely first name for a child of native-born parents of any race.

That said, I have not been able to find specific confirmation of immigrant status online, and in any case I would not attach a great deal of significance to this status. While I am of course opposed to immigration, and especially African immigration, it isn't as if Kenyans pose the same level of danger to Americans as do Somali Bantus.

My aggravation right now are the Academy Preparatory Schools: whatever nonsense they may tell us about "enhanc[ing] midshipman candidates' moral, mental, and physical foundations," the reality is that these are last-ditch efforts to get recruited athletes up to college work.

It shouldn't be that hard. While admission to the service academies is intensely competitive, most of the competitiveness is around "leadership potential", of which athletic participation is taken to be a positive indicator. I seem to recall that the "regular" (i.e. non-athlete) admission standard is an 1150 SAT composite; poking around online shows this to be at about the 25th percentile of the USNA. That doesn't strike me as very high. So why go bottom-feeding for students that don't have it?

The answer, of course, is general officer lust for winning sports teams. To them, these athletes' eventual performance as commissioned officers is as beside the point as, say, Baylor's athletes eventual performance at anything requiring knowledge obtained in university.

It's long past time for the service academies to remember why taxpayers foot their bill, return to their core mission, and close the affirmative-action mills for athletes.