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Air Force Academy athletics director says sports teams need more focus on commitment, respect

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AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colorado — Air Force Academy sports programs have not put enough focus on commitment and respect but are working to correct that, the school's athletic director said.

The department is emphasizing programs to address character issues, and administrators are working with coaches to identify and avoid recruiting athletes with character problems, Athletic Director Hans Mueh said Thursday.

Hans made his comments to the academy's Board of Visitors, which reviews the school and reports to Congress and the Pentagon, The Colorado Springs Gazette reported (http://tinyurl.com/pu3sfun).

The academy has been under renewed scrutiny over past allegations about sexual misconduct and drug use by athletes. Two members of Congress asked military and civilian agencies to look into claims by a former Air Force investigator about how the academy handles sexual assault allegations.

"We're good at stamina and courage and teamwork and self-confidence and self-discipline and the indomitable will to win," Mueh told the board. "The area we didn't focus on enough is this culture of commitment and climate of respect."

Board member Marcelite Harris, a retired Air Force major general, asked Mueh if coaches were evaluated on their ability to instill values in cadets.

"We need to define that a little better," Mueh said. "We have seen examples where coaches have abrogated that responsibility and pushed it off on cadets rather than being the adults in the room."

The academy's inspector general, Col. David Kuenzli, told the board he is wrapping up a review of sports programs that includes leadership, mission, finances and whether the program meets academy conduct standards.

Kuenzli did not disclose any of the findings. He is expected to submit his report to superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson on Oct. 7.

Kuenzli said 15 inspectors spent a month reviewing regulations and interviewing some of the athletic department's 300 workers.


Information from: The Gazette, http://www.gazette.com

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