For many colleges, the sport of football is big business. From scholarships to recruiting, they seek out high school players and try to entice them to their universities. Once there, some colleges seem to turn a blind eye to acts that violate their student athlete policies, including criminal activity and drinking and driving. The United States Military Academy, also known as West Point, is no exception. The Daily Beast reports on how the academic institution’s policy on looking the other way for cadets on the football team may have contributed to the death of a sophomore.
20-year-old Brandon Jackson played in every game for the United States Military Academy as a freshman. As a sophomore, he was a starting defensive back and helped his team secure their first two wins.
Jackson and some friends went out to a tailgate party after a game on September 10. The party was attended by classmates and coaches. From the party, Jackson went on with at least 5 other underage friends to get alcohol at a gas station and moved on to a bar known for serving minors.
Though underage drinking is against the law and most certainly against the strict code of ethics set forth by West Point, Cadet Corporal Jackson was able to drink in full view of at least one officer.
Arriving back at the barracks after midnight, Jackson went back out to his car – a vehicle underclassmen are not supposed to have – and got in the vehicle to drive 80 miles to his girlfriend.
10 minutes later, Jackson hit a guardrail and was killed. Authorities determined he was driving 87-mph at the time of the crash. His blood alcohol content was measured at .12 percent. Authorities discovered a case of beer in the wreckage.
In a statement of the investigation, an Army official had this to say: “While his death was 100% the result of his own open, deliberate, and knowing malfeasance, the institutional-cultural lens is important because Cadet Jackson’s actions were ambivalently treated as ambiguous offenses by USMA [United States Military Academy] personnel who witnessed his misconduct.”
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