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Air Force Academy athletics program under investigation

Aug. 2, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
AFA FOOTBALL
The Air Force Academy defensive line takes to the field on Thursday for drills on the first day of football practice for the 2014 season at the Holaday Athletic Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. (Michael Ciaglo/The Colorado Springs Gazette via AP)
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COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO. — The Air Force Academy's superintendent has ordered an investigation into the academy's athletics program in response to a newspaper's questions about player misconduct.

The Colorado Springs Gazette said Friday it is planning to publish a report on Sunday outlining how a group of athletes was investigated by Air Force officials after allegations of sexual assault and drug use at a party in December 2011. Details of the allegations have not been released.

Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson told the newspaper this week she has asked the academy's inspector general to review the athletics department.

"These efforts will help in eliminating subcultures at the Air Force's Academy whose climates do not align with our institutional core values," Johnson wrote in an email.

Meanwhile, academy spokesman David Cannon sent an email to community leaders, parents of cadets, politicians and boosters Thursday alerting them of Sunday's planned story.

"The Colorado Springs Gazette is working on a story about the climate and culture in the athletic department focused primarily on our football program," he wrote. "This past behavior was troubling and suggested certain subcultures that were inconsistent with the culture of commitment and climate of respect we work hard to uphold at USAFA."

Academy spokesman Meade Warthen confirmed to The Associated Press that Cannon sent the email, adding "we don't want people to be completely blindsided."

The Gazette said its investigation examines recruiting, academic programs and steps the academy is taking to ensure athletes live up to the academy's honor code. It based its investigation on dozens of interviews and hundreds of pages of government documents.

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