Another Air Force graduate is seeking a path to extend his football career.
Former Falcons punter Charlie Scott, who graduated in April and earned a commission as a second lieutenant, will try to walk on at Alabama, where his brother, JK Scott, was an All-American before moving on to an NFL career with the Green Bay Packers.
Charlie Scott “applied for an exception to policy to attend graduate school and play football for the University of Alabama. His exception to policy is still being processed,” said Ann Stefanek, the Department of the Air Force chief of media operations, in an email to The Gazette.
Though multiple outlets reported Scott was among the walk-ons included on Alabama’s official roster, Crimson Tide spokesman Josh Maxson said “he is not listed on our roster at this time.”
The Air Force Academy sends a small number of graduates to graduate school each year, including football players Kyle Johnson (Harvard) and Isaiah Sanders (Stanford) from Scott’s Class of 2020. Sanders will play football for the Cardinal, while Johnson won't play because the Ivy League does not accept graduate transfers.
Because coach Troy Calhoun’s program rarely plays freshmen, most football players leave the academy with one year of eligibility remaining with the NCAA. That extra year can only be accessed by transferring, as the academy does not permit cadets to extend their time beyond eight semesters in most cases.
The Gazette knows of no prior examples of a football player from Air Force transferring and playing elsewhere. This class could set a precedent and create a new path for players hoping to extend their careers.
Where Scott’s case would be different is that he is applying for a graduate school slot after graduating. Johnson and Sanders each received their graduate school assignments prior to commissioning. Scott, a Greenwood Village native who was given a commission as a cyberspace officer, will require the exemption that the Air Force is now considering.
Unlike Johnson (recently named the Mountain West Male Scholar-Athlete) and Sanders (a Rhodes Scholar applicant), Scott’s bio lacks specific mention of his academic achievements while at Air Force. He was not named to an academic all-conference team during his career.
Scott averaged 40.8 yards on 95 career punts for the Falcons with a long of 72. He also started 36 consecutive games as the team’s holder for field goals and PATs.
Alabama returns punter Ty Perine, who earned Freshman All-SEC honors last year as he averaged 44.7 yards per punt.
Calhoun has told The Gazette he does not see his program gaining an advantage by demonstrating to its players — and recruits — that the potential to play one more year of college football exists. He has long advocated for a ninth semester at the academy, which would allow for a red-shirt year.
“You’ve just got to see what unfolds,” Calhoun said in February. “Part of it is new horizons, so we’ll see what that truly means.
“You’re not happy. That means they have another year.”
If a grad-transfer pipeline suddenly opens for Air Force, that would be added to the recently enacted policy from President Donald Trump’s administration that allows approved athletes to defer their service commitment. That is what cornerback Zane Lewis, also from this year’s graduating class, is utilizing as he attempts to make the Arizona Cardinals’ roster as an undrafted free agent.