Air Force Academy wide receiver Jalen Robinette found out on the first day of the NFL Draft about a U.S. Department of Defense policy change that would put his professional football dreams on hold.
On April 27, Robinette was informed that athletes in the U.S. military’s service academies would no longer be allowed to defer two years of active duty, and instead would have to follow the David Robinson route and serve two years before applying for a release to pursue professional sports dreams. It was tough news for the Falcons’ all-time leading receiver, who was projected to be chosen in the later rounds of the NFL Draft.
Now, Robinette is dealing with more bad news: He might not be eligible to graduate from the Air Force Academy at all.
“Cadet Robinette was removed from the graduation lineup after academy leadership became aware of information that called into question cadet Robinette’s eligibility/qualification to graduate and commission,” Air Force Academy spokesman Ray Bowden said in a statement to the Denver Post on Wednesday. “Cadet Robinette’s graduation and commissioning will be placed on hold while we further evaluate.”
Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post broke the news Wednesday afternoon.
Jhabvala reported that Robinette was not among the 979 Air Force Academy cadets who walked at the Falcons’ graduation ceremony Wednesday morning.
Bowden went on to say in his statement that the reasoning behind Robinette not walking at graduation does “not involve any allegations of criminal wrongdoing and are unrelated to cadet Robinette’s professional football pursuits.”
Robinette hasn’t commented publicly throughout this saga, but he retweeted this on Twitter when the Department of Defense announced its change in policy on the first day of the NFL Draft.
If Robinette is not cleared to graduate, his options include enlisting and then serving or reimbursing the U.S. government for the price of his education, according to the Air Force Academy’s website.
Subscribe to Denverite’s weekly sports newsletter here.