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WPAOG Announces West Point Athletics LLC

The West Point Association of Graduates (WPAOG) has launched a new and needed effort in partnership with the Academy, and in accordance with our mission to serve West Point and its graduates. After he assumed command of the United States Military Academy in July 2013, LTG Robert L. Caslen Jr. ’75 directed a transition team led by LTG (Ret.) Joseph DeFrancisco ’65 to examine several areas across the Academy, to include governance, academics, leader development and the athletic program. Because of the inherent complexities of Army and NCAA regulations, as well as policies governing intercollegiate athletics, the transition team established a separate task force to examine that aspect of the USMA athletic program. 

The task force, led by LTG (Ret.) William J. Lennox ’71, the 56th Superintendent, found that changing Army policies and limitations placed on the Athletic Director because of his status as a contractor to the Academy functionally prohibited his ability to manage government resources, systems and facilities, and to perform all the functions normally associated with this position at other competitive institutions. The need for an organizational change was clear. The transition team’s separate task force recommended changes in the Athletic Director’s employment status that would give him requisite authorities that would allow him to manage Army’s Athletic Department. 

In light of these findings, and after a full review of available options, LTG Caslen asked the assistance of WPAOG while USMA leadership pursued a long term solution through the Department of the Army and the Department of Defense.  In response to the Superintendent’s request, WPAOG created the West Point Athletics Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) that will enable the Academy’s Athletic Director to execute the full range of duties and functions inherent in the position. In this regard, WPAOG will continue the established practice of soliciting and holding in trust all funds collected and donated in support of Academy activities. This includes those that come through the Army A-Club designated specifically for intercollegiate athletics.

WPAOG embraces this opportunity to support the request of the Superintendent, and sees this in keeping with its stated purpose to “further the ideals and promote the welfare of the United States Military Academy and to support and serve its graduates.” Donors, graduates, and everyone associated with West Point and Army Athletics will see no impact to operations in support of our cadet athletes. We anticipate that the changes referred to above will allow the Academy to better respond to current and future needs of the intercollegiate athletic program. 

Questions & Answers:

Why did WPAOG form the LLC?
The LLC was incorporated at the request of the Superintendent to provide a short-term solution that would provide efficiencies for USMA, enabling the Athletic Director to fully manage all related activities essential to running a successful NCAA athletic program. The LLC resolves problems with the current staffing model, due to West Point’s unique structure of being both a government entity as well as being an institution of higher learning.

Who does the Athletic Director report to in the new structure?
The Athletic Director, as president of the LLC, will report to a Board of Managers comprised of WPAOG’s president and selected members of the Board of Directors. As a Nonappropriated Fund employee, he also reports to the Superintendent of USMA.

What happens to my A-Club donations?
This move has no impact on donations made to the ARMY A Club: those funds will continue to support ARMY athletics.

How will this change affect A-Club and athletic operations?
There will be no impact to operations in support of our cadet athletes.

What is the long-term solution?
The long-term solution requires legislative changes that USMA will seek through the Department of the Army