NAVY SUPE: JOHNSON HAS MY "STRONG" SUPPORT

Alright Navy sports fans, here are answers to some of your burning questions regarding the new policies handed down by U.S. Naval Academy Superintendent Vice. Adm. Jeffrey Fowler. These responses come directly from Naval Academy spokesperson Mike Brady. Be sure to check out my column, Off the Yard, tomorrow for my reaction to these answers and the new policies.

GOMIDS: Will Midshipmen will be able to support their classmates at sporting events, on the Yard, during the week.  Or will they be required to be in Bancroft Hall, studying?

USNA:  Midshipmen who are satisfactorily meeting academic and professional requirements may be able to attend on-Yard sporting events during the week as their duties permit.    

GOMIDS: Does the Superintendent plan on attending away football games (starting with Temple)? 

USNA:  The Superintendent and members of his Senior Leadership Team, as well as select members of the Brigade, to include Cheerleaders and the Drum and Bugle Corps, will attend away football games. (And) the Superintendent plans to attend the Temple game.

GOMIDS: Will Midshipmen be able to watch the televised Navy-Pitt football game on Wednesday, October 10th?

USNA: Upperclass Midshipmen who are satisfactorily meeting academic and professional requirements will be able to watch the Wednesday evening game against Pittsburgh.

GOMIDS: Can you describe the procedure the Admiral went through when deciding to make the cuts in Midshipmen traveling to away football games/sporting events?  Was his decision based on money or something else?  Did he receive input from the AD? Several alumni have offered to start a fund to help bring Mids to sporting events.  With past bowl games, there is even a precedent for this.  Would the Admiral support such an effort?

USNA:  Since the Superintendent's change of command on June 8th, he has been using the CNO's approach for taking on a new position of responsibility: listen, learn, and lead. He spent the summer listening and learning, and after obtaining input and recommendations from his Senior Leadership Team – which includes the Athletic Director - has now begun leading.  As the new academic year begins, the Superintendent, together with is Senior Leadership Team, is ensuring the Academy's course is set to prepare midshipmen to become the best junior officers in the Fleet;  officers with competence, character, and compassion.

The decision to limit away football game travel by midshipmen was not driven by budgetary issues, rather its intent is to ensure midshipmen remain focused on moral, mental, and physical development.  All other activity is secondary, optional, and conditional.  To this end, the Superintendent intends to remove distractions and guide development. 

GOMIDS: What was the last Navy sporting event the Admiral attended prior to being named the Superintendent?

USNA: Like many alumni, Vice Admiral Fowler has returned to the Academy at various occasions since graduation, including certain homecoming games and events.  

GOMIDS: When Paul Johnson last extended his contract with Navy, in his brief statement he mentioned the importance of the support he has received from the Brigade of Midshipmen.  Fans are worried that the Superintendent has made a decision to cut into that support.  Are these concerns justified?  Is Vice Adm. Fowler committed to keeping Paul Johnson at Navy?

USNA: The Superintendent is very pleased with the Naval Academy's athletic program.  It remains a vital element of the Academy's mission of moral, mental and physical development of midshipmen.  The Navy Football team and Coach Johnson will continue to receive strong support from the Superintendent, the staff and faculty, and the Brigade of Midshipmen.

GOMIDS: In Adm. Fowler's mind, what role does Navy football and sports in general play in developing quality officers? 

USNA:  Navy football, like all Academy athletic programs, remains a vital element of the Academy's mission of moral, mental and physical development of midshipmen.  The Navy Football team and Coach Johnson will continue to receive strong support from the Superintendent, the staff and faculty, and the Brigade of Midshipmen.

GOMIDS: The Superintendent made these decisions before class was in session, before attending one away football game as ‘Supe,' before attending one on-the-yard sporting event as ‘Supe.'  He said there was "no crisis at the Naval Academy" - but his actions lead people to believe that changes needed to be made now, and even before he had a chance to personally compare the before/after effect of his new policies. Why not take a few months and make a personal, in-person assessment prior to making such drastic changes?   

USNA: Since the Superintendent's change of command on June 8th, he has been using the CNO's approach for taking on a new position of responsibility: listen, learn, and lead. He spent the summer listening and learning, and after obtaining input and recommendations from his Senior Leadership Team – which includes the Athletic Director - has now begun leading.  As the new academic year begins, the Superintendent, together with is Senior Leadership Team, is ensuring the Academy's course is set to prepare midshipmen to become the best junior officers in the Fleet;  officers with competence, character, and compassion.

My complete reaction to these answers will appear in the next addition of Off the Yard.  In the meantime, I invite you to discuss the Winners and Losers based on these answers, from a Navy athletics and Navy fan perspective, in the forum.

As always, if you have a comment for David, send him an email.

 


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