Air Force Academy Punishes Gymnasts for Drinking

DENVER  — Members of the Air Force Academy men's gymnastics team were disciplined for underage drinking and unprofessional behavior, the school said Thursday.

Academy officials did not specify what the behavior was but said there were no allegations of sexual assault or illegal drug use.

The academy also said it was examining allegations of inappropriate behavior by a basketball staff member. No other details were released.

School officials did not identify anyone on the gymnastics team who was disciplined or say what steps were taken, citing privacy laws.

A person with firsthand knowledge of the actions told The Associated Press those disciplined included one coach and several cadets. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person wasn't authorized to speak publicly about the details.

The person said the misconduct spanned several months and that the last of the disciplinary actions was taken recently.

The gymnastics team is still practicing and competing, the person said.

The academy did not say how many people were disciplined. The team roster lists 19 athletes.

The announcement came amid renewed scrutiny of past allegations about sexual misconduct and drug use at the school outside Colorado Springs.

Two members of Congress asked the Defense Department and the civilian U.S. Office of Special Counsel last month to look into claims by a former Air Force investigator about how the academy handles sexual assault allegations. Neither agency would confirm whether it had launched an inquiry.

The academy has said the allegations had been reviewed numerous times by multiple agencies, and all concluded the academy handles sexual assault cases appropriately.

The Air Force Academy has about 4,000 cadets. Those who graduate are awarded college degrees and are commissioned as second lieutenants.

Congress is pressuring the military to do more about sexual assaults at the Air Force, Army and Navy academies. A Defense Department report in January identified sports and club teams as an area where the academies needed to expand training on preventing sexual misconduct.

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