As the decades pass at the nation's military academies, some things never change. Hats are tossed into the air every graduation day. Doolies arrive in June to begin the excruciating trek to officership. And sooner or later, another cheating scandal rolls around.
In 1951, the U.S. Military Academy booted 90 cadets — including most of the football team — for cheating. In 1976, another 134 West Point cheaters were shown the door. In 1994, two dozen midshipmen were expelled in the biggest cheating incident in Naval Academy history.
Though the Air Force Academy opened in 1955, more than 100 years after the other two, it's taken its place in the tradition several times over.
Most notably, 109 AFA cadets left the academy in 1965 for involvement in an elaborate scheme in which exams were stolen from faculty offices and sold to classmates. Other cheating episodes followed in the 1970s, 1980s and 2000s.
But cheating actually pales in comparison to some violations, as became obvious last decade when female cadets alleged the academy didn't fully prosecute rapists. The academy disputed that, but records later showed that dozens of cases weren't taken to court-martial. That led the Air Force to impose far-reaching orders under the title, "Agenda for Change," including new sexual assault training and reporting procedures.
This year, the academy charged a member of the cadet honor board, senior Robert Evenson Jr., with six sexual assault charges, including rape and using his honor system post to obtain sexual favors. The case is pending a decision on whether he'll be court-martialed.
The academy has also been dealing with back-to-back drug scandals. On Jan. 12, the academy announced it was investigating about 30 cadets for "possibly violating" the prohibition against use of intoxicating substances other than alcohol and prescription drugs. The likely drug is "spice," a substance often sold as incense before being made illegal. The academy investigated 33 cadets for the same reason last year; all but four were sophomores. Of those, 21 resigned, five were disenrolled, one case was forwarded for court-martial, and six were dropped due to lack of evidence.