May 18, 2012
Asher Clark, the second-leading rusher in Air Force football history, has been removed from the academy less than a week before he was scheduled to graduate, and sources indicated he was removed as part of the academy’s investigation into illegal drug use.
Academy spokesman David Cannon said that Clark, a four-year starter at tailback for the Falcons, was no longer enrolled at the academy. Cannon said he could not say why Clark was no longer at the academy, referring to the Privacy Act.
However, multiple sources who did not want their names used because Air Force didn’t announce the reason for Clark’s departure, said he was disenrolled as part of the investigation into illegal drug use.
A phone message left at Clark’s parents’ house was not returned. Attempts to reach Clark were unsuccessful. Messages to Air Force coach Troy Calhoun regarding Clark were not returned.
The academy’s investigation into drug use expanded to involve 31 cadets, and the academy announced that some were involved in intercollegiate athletics. The academy announced in mid-January that 15 cadets were suspected of using a banned substance other than alcohol, tobacco or drugs prescribed to cadets.
In late April, The Gazette reported that of 19 completed investigations, eight cadets were cleared of wrongdoing, three cadets were disciplined, four cadets were in the process of being punished and four cadets were awaiting word from the commandant on whether they would be punished. The academy didn’t provide an update on the investigation Friday.
It is unclear if Clark will have to repay any of the money from his education costs. Air Force has a zero tolerance policy on illegal drug use.
Clark was left home from a visit to the White House on April 23 in which President Barack Obama presented Air Force’s football team with the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy. An academy spokesman said Clark was “not meeting academy standards” but would not give any more details about that punishment.
Clark, from Lawrenceville, Ga., was a four-year starter at tailback for Air Force. He rushed for more than 1,000 yards as a junior and again as a senior. Clark finished with 3,594 career yards, only 18 yards less than quarterback Dee Dowis' all-time record.
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