Fact Check: Biden Claims He Was ‘Appointed’ to Naval Academy, Roger Staubach Prevented Him from Attending

President Joe Biden speaks to graduating cadets at the U.S. Military Academy commencement
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

CLAIM: President Joe Biden claimed during a commencement speech at the United States Military Academy West Point that he turned down an offer to play football at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.


Biden has previously told different versions of this claim to graduates at the U.S. Naval Academy and the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado.

In his claim, Biden says he applied to the Naval Academy in order to play football. He was appointed to the Naval Academy by former Delaware Sen. J. Caleb Boggs (R) in 1965. However, the president graduated from the University of Delaware in 1965, which makes it unlikely he would have applied to attend the Naval Academy then.

Biden continues to claim that he turned down the offer after finding out that NFL Heisman Trophy winners Joe Bellino and Staubach were playing on the U.S. Naval Academy football team then.

Another issue with this claim is that Staubach graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1964, while Bellino graduated in 1961, Fox News reported.

“I was one of ten. I wanted to play football,” Biden told the graduates. “And, the day that I was supposed to go down for the interview, a classmate of mine who was also one of the ten appointed to be chosen from, named Steve Dunning, came to pick me up.”

Biden continued: “I found out two days earlier, they had a quarterback named Roger Staubach and a halfback named Joe Bellino. I said, ‘Oh, I’m not going there,’ I went to Delaware. Not a joke.”

During high school, Biden played football for Archmere Academy in Claymont, Delaware, and graduated from the Catholic college preparatory school in 1961.

Yahoo Sports reported:

Biden would go on to become one of the state’s best players his senior year. Over the course of eight games, he’d score 10 touchdowns, and his 60 points on the season ranked third overall in the state of Delaware.

Along with claiming he was appointed to the Naval Academy, Biden has claimed that he used to drive an 18-wheeler, that he was arrested during the civil rights movement, and that he was the first member of his family to attend college.


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