A third former Air Force football player faces an academy court-martial for cocaine, as Kyler Ehm heads to court for a hearing on his charges Wednesday.
The former reserve defensive lineman is charged with four specifications for use of cocaine and faces a preliminary hearing to air evidence in the case.
Ehm, a native of the Wichita, Kan., area, appeared in 10 games across the 2017 and ’18 seasons, making one tackle.
Court papers allege Ehm began using the drug in 2017 and had three instances of cocaine use in early 2018, yet still played in games against Navy, New Mexico, Utah State and Nevada in the 2018 campaign.
Air Force football coach Troy Calhoun refused to discuss cocaine use by his players Tuesday.
Ehm’s charges follow guilty pleas on cocaine charges from former fullback Cole Fagan, last year’s leading rusher on the team with 997 yards, and tailback Joseph Saucier, who averaged a team-best 6.4 yards per carry last year.
Ehm, Fagan and Saucier are part of this year’s senior class and were expected to play significant roles on the team before they were removed from the roster.
Fagan was sentenced to 15 days in jail.
Saucier, who also pleaded guilty to marijuana possession, received a three-month sentence.
Unlike other college football programs, where scholarships are covered with athletic revenue, academy players, like all cadets, get free tuition and paychecks from the Pentagon. That makes the academy one of the only schools that pays college players. Ehm drew $1,116 in pay on top of free room, board and medical care.
Calhoun on Tuesday wouldn’t discuss how three of his players wound up with drug charges.
“What do you have about our current team?” Calhoun asked in a tense exchange at a Tuesday news conference at the academy. “What do you have about guys on our team?”
Even as Calhoun’s team has struggled with drug offenses, it has found success on the field, posting a 5-2 record heading into a Saturday night matchup with Utah State.
Down two star rushers, the Falcons possess the nation’s No. 4 rushing attack, averaging 286 yards per game on the ground in 2019.
Calhoun has traditionally refused to discuss misconduct by his players, and how he intends to fix conduct problems on the squad.
After a scandal in 2014 involving football players using drugs and committing acts of sexual assault, the academy pledged to examine its recruiting practices and to keep a closer eye on how its players behave off the field.
Ehm’s hearing Wednesday will see Air Force prosecutors outline their case. A hearing officer will afterward issue a recommendation to academy leaders on whether the case should proceed to court-martial.
Cocaine use by military members carries a maximum sentence of five years behind bars for each offense.