The Defense Department rescinded its revised pro sports policy less than a year after the 2016 change allowed military athletes to defer active-duty service so they could play professional sports.
DoD officials released the news on Monday, four days after Air Force Academy athletes hoping to be drafted into the National Football League found out the Air Force wouldn't approve waivers that would allow the cadets to join the Ready Reserve and sign with a football team.
Graduates from the service academies will serve as officers for their minimum commitment of two years, according to Pentagon Spokeswoman Dana White. The memo from the Pentagon, which cancels a May 5, 2016, memo, also affects recently commissioned ROTC graduates.
"Our military academies exist to develop future officers who enhance the readiness and the lethality of our military services," White said in a statement. "Graduates enjoy the extraordinary benefit of a military academy education at taxpayer expense."
He will have an opportunity to pursue his "professional athletic goals after serving two years" as an officer in the Air Force, the statement said.
The Air Force Academy football team will be honored as winners of the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy on Tuesday at the White House. The trophy goes to the winner of the annual service-academy football rivalry. Air Force beat both Army and Navy this season, according to The Gazette.