"A lot of us were there," Reich says, "and all he did was tell us to tell the truth. I don't believe that he thought we'd be thrown out."
"You men," Blaik said, "leaders of the academy, need to straighten out this situation by going to the commandant's staff and telling them what you know. If you and your fellow players set the example, the corps will follow." Late that night Blaik went by Superintendent Irving's house and woke him up by literally throwing pebbles at his window. When Irving came downstairs, Blaik argued that Harkins was "a black-and-white man with no shades of gray" and that the matter should be turned over to the Academic Board. But it was too late for that.
Following their coach's advice, the players told the truth. Some of those who had already been questioned volunteered to retract their falsehoods. At least a few of them had concluded, cynically, that there would be safety in numbers, that if virtually the whole team was guilty, the academy could not expel them all. Not the whole glorious Army football team.
What they did not know is that the decision had already, in effect, been made. There is only one solution, and that is separation from the Academy. What Harkins had recommended would proceed up the line through the superintendent to a special independent board chaired by the much-respected retired judge Learned Hand and finally to President Truman himself.
Soon Bob Blaik came to his father and told him he was implicated too. The coach was stunned. "How could you?" he said.
"Hell, Bobby was an A student," Pollard says. "He just helped. But that made you as guilty as anybody."
Bob Blaik, like so many of the others, would not give up his teammates. Pollard's turn came. "Did you use illegal information on exams?" a member of the Collins Board asked him.
"Yes, sir, I did," he said.
"Can you name other cadets who also did that?"