2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

Q and A with Air Force coach Troy Calhoun on new and proposed NCAA regulations

Published: June 18, 2014, 5:09 pm, by Brent Briggeman

If the NCAA expands some of the benefits allowed for players, how might that impact Air Force?

I don’t think for us it makes too much of a difference. The reason I say that, is, can someone out there maybe dangle out that they can put a little more cash in your pocket if you go there? That may certainly come up in a conversation in a home. However, I think someone who’s inclined to make the sacrifice and go the military route is going to go that way. There’s some small factors. I shouldn’t say a blanket no.

 

What would those factors be?

Being able to go on a date and not wonder if you’re going to be able to pick up the tab. Or not having to wonder how you’re going to go home. That may seem small, but it might make an impact.

 

What about the lifting of food limits? I know previous guidelines were specific enough to say, for example, that athletes could be given bagels but no cream cheese. Those rules did apply to you as well, so will the change be a benefit?

I don’t think so for us. Maybe providing a little different crustables for a snack, which I realize sounds humorous.

 

I’ve talked with some of your players who have lost a lot of weight during a season, might this be a chance to give some of those guys a bit more food?

We can. We’ll certainly work that and provide some items. Can it make a difference in caloric intake and nutrition? Slightly.

 

Would this not help also as incoming recruits talk with current cadets, because wouldn’t things like access to food come up in those conversations?

I would much rather that it’s open and it’s quite honest about the difficulties and the realities that you’re going to go through, rather than have someone come in and after three months say, ‘My goodness, this is not what you told me.’ I think that’s the only way you can have reasonable retention at the Air Force Academy. I think less selling and more just plain, direct, honest talk, you’ll have a better officer and you’ll have someone who truly has a better experience.

 

The changes would primarily just impact snack availability, correct? Because Air Force doesn’t have a separate cafeteria or “training table” for athletes, does it?

No. everyone eats in the same place at Mitchell Hall. You eat breakfast and lunch with your squadron. If it’s someone who is a member of the choir, it’s the same thing.