My colleague Amy McCullough at Marine Corps Times recently reported that 13 second lieutenants were kicked out of the Corps this month for cheating at The Basic School at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. It turns out that two Naval Academy football players, including former star fullback Adam Ballard, are among the Marines to get administratively discharged (the other player was not identified).
Ballard and the other lieutenants allegedly used cheat sheets during their final land navigation exercise last fall, according to Marine officials.
In an interview with Marine Corps Times, Ballard said he plans to fight the ruling.
“Everyone has character flaws. I’m not saying what I did was right or should go without punishment,” Ballard told the paper. “I did have a moment of weakness, but I guess I’m facing the consequences of that.”
Ballard, a 2008 graduate of the academy, is Navy’s eighth all-time leading rusher. He led the program in rushing during his junior season in 2006, earned the Joe Bellino Award (leading rusher of his senior class) in 2007 and played in the East-West Shrine game at the end of his senior season.
Ballard’s dismissal from the Corps makes him the third recent Naval Academy star to involuntarily leave the military before finishing their service commitments. Kyle Eckel, a 2005 grad who is Navy’s fourth all-time leading rusher, was kicked out of the Navy in 2006. Lamar Owens, Navy’s starting quarterback in 2005, was forced to leave the Navy without a degree and pay back the cost of his education after he was he was acquitted of rape but found guilty of lesser charges in 2007.
Click here to read the entire story.
As a Naval Academy graduate, former varsity athlete, and Marine officer, I can say that this man’s story is truly a disappointment. The first sentence in the Marine Corps times article (stating that Ballard was a Naval Academy graduate) is the only thing that people are going to remember. Prior to graduating, mids are told that they will have to fight against the stigma of being a “ring knocker” when they get to the Fleet, and men like this are only serving to up the ante of that existing stigma. He deserves to be kicked out the Marine Corps. If he has not discovered his moral code by the time he graduated from the Academy (and gone to TBS), he should not be able to lead Marines- they deserve better.