Military Personnel:

Treatment of Prominent Athletes on Active Duty

NSIAD-87-224: Published: Sep 29, 1987. Publicly Released: Oct 6, 1987.

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GAO reviewed military policies and procedures applicable to officers who participate in professional athletics and whether professional-caliber athletes have been shown favoritism, focusing on cases concerning prominent athletes in the Navy and Marine Corps.

GAO found that: (1) the services had no written policies concerning the participation of active duty personnel in professional sports, although there were regulations concerning off-duty employment in general; (2) one Navy officer's case received an extraordinary amount of top-level attention, and the Navy made accommodations for the officer's preferred geographical area and work schedule to allow his participation in professional football; (3) the Navy made an irregular agreement with one officer to reduce his service obligation, based on physical limitations on his ability to gain experience and compete with peers, and confusion over the circumstances under which the officer incurred his obligation; and (4) a Marine Corps officer did not receive favorable treatment, since all of his requests to play professional football were denied.

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