Air Force Quarterback Suspended from Team


Air Force has again lost its quarterback. Jaleel Awini is not eligible to play following an academy announcement Wednesday that he is no longer a "cadet in good standing."

Awini, a sophomore, had previously been on academic probation and members of the football team tweeted encouragement from an Air Force court proceeding involving Awini on Tuesday.

One tweet mentioned 100 of Awini's teammates were there to support him and a hashtag #Freewini, which was popular during his time on probation, was brought back to the social networking site.

No information has been given on the nature of Awini's offense and no timetable exists for a potential return, as there is an administrative process for a cadet to return to good standing.

A release from Air Force stated only that "Air Force Academy Cadet Third Class (C3C) Jaleel Awini is no longer a cadet in good standing and is not allowed to represent the Academy in any outside activities, effective immediately.

"All cadets are held to the same high standards -- honor, physical fitness, academics and military aptitude -- and each case is handled on its own individual merits. Holding each cadet to these high standards promotes good order and discipline throughout the institution."

Awini ascended to the starting quarterback position in the first game this season when Kale Pearson went down with a season-ending knee injury.

Awini immediately impressed with a throwing arm far stronger than Air Force typically has at the quarterback position. He is also second on the team with 220 rushing yards and leads the Falcons with four rushing touchdowns.

The Aurora native and graduate of Rangeview High School did not practice Tuesday.

Fellow sophomore Karson Roberts, who has both of Air Force's touchdown passes this season, becomes the presumptive starter. Roberts is a 6-foot, 185-pound native of Houston.

Awini is a first-generation American, the only son of a Ghana diplomat. He spoke Monday about the importance of his cultural background and how it had led him to the Air Force Academy.

"In my culture the firstborn is supposed to be something in life and take care of the family," Awini said. "What place better than the academy to do something with your life and be part of something special?"

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