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Around the Base: June 18, 2021

Navy Secretary doubles down on pro athlete stance, Army inks series with South Alabama.

Tulsa v Navy Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

The acting Secretary of the Navy has doubled down on his opposition of Naval Academy graduates delaying their service requirement to pursue pro sports. Thomas W. Harker denied the requests of Navy football player Cameron Kinley and baseball player Charlie Connolly.

Harker said during an appearance before Congress on Tuesday: “I looked at this case. I looked at the significant investment the taxpayers make in every midshipman and our expectation and their expectation is that midshipman will graduate and be commissioned with the Navy and the Marine Corps.”

Kinley had signed a free agent contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after going undrafted. A talented pitcher, Connolly was expected to be selected in the next MLB Amateur Draft. Kinley’s story has garnered nationwide attention, being featured on CNN, the Dan Patrick Show, ESPN and elsewhere.

Read more about Harker’s position from the Baltimore Sun.

More news:

  • The University of South Alabama announced Thursday that it had agreed to a home-and-home football series with Army. The first game will be played at West Point on Sept. 7, 2030, and the Black Knights will travel to Mobile, Alabama in 2031. Army and South Alabama have never faced each other in football. The Jaguars went 4-7 last year.
  • CBS Sports and Army football have agreed to extend their partnership through the 2028 season, keeping Black Knights’ home football games on CBS Sports Network for the foreseeable future. Of the 70 college football games that CBS Sports Network will broadcast this fall, 14 will involve service academies.
  • Air Force athletics and Nike have extended their apparel deal through 2024. Nike will continue to be the exclusive athletic footwear, apparel and accessories sponsor of the Falcons.
  • Army has hired two new assistant women’s soccer coaches in Tori Ball and Justin Howell. Ball was last at Colorado State, where she spent four years as an assistant coach. She played her college soccer at Auburn, where she was a striker. Howell last worked for San Francisco University and for the semi-professional Toronto Skillz FC. Army went 5-1 in their COVID-shortened campaign this past year.
  • VMI’s Justin Starke was named SoCon Freshman of the Year for baseball after a vote by the league’s head coaches and media members. Starke had a .422 batting average this season and reached based safely in each of his last 24 games. The Prince George, Virginia native’s .525 on-base percentage is the highest-ever for a single season in program history.
  • The Military Bowl has a new sponsor in Peraton, which “provides innovative, reliable solutions to the nation’s most sensitive and mission-critical programs and systems,” according to The 2021 Military Bowl is set to return to Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium and will kick off at 2:30 p.m. EST on Dec. 27 on ESPN. The game was canceled last year due to the pandemic and the lack of teams willing to participate in bowls.