- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 14, 2014

DENVER (AP) - The Air Force Academy’s inspector general gave the athletic department a passing grade and found no problems that would warrant a criminal investigation, the school said Tuesday.

The findings were announced amid renewed concerns about previous allegations of sexual assaults, some centering on athletes.

A school spokesman, Lt. Col. Brus Vidal, said the review included how well the athletic department conducts sexual assault prevention programs, but he said he could not discuss the findings.

School officials said they would not release the report.

The review was in response to an Air Force-wide mandate for inspections of smaller units and was unrelated to the sexual assault concerns, officials said. They stressed it was not a criminal inquiry and said other academy departments would be reviewed.

The inspector general gave the athletic department an “effective” rating, meaning it is performing its mission, the academy said.

Effective is the middle grade of a five-step scale ranging from ineffective to outstanding.

The inspector general reviewed how the department uses its personnel and funds, whether it is improving and whether it is fulfilling its mission.

The review found that some members of the athletic department “had lost a sense of common belonging” and that morale was suffering from budget constraints and from other, unspecified factors, the academy said in a news release.

The review praised the way coaches balance practice time with cadets’ academic studies, and the department’s compliance with NCAA rules, the academy said.

Two members of Congress asked the Defense Department and the civilian U.S. Office of Special Counsel in September to look into claims by a former Air Force investigator about problems in the way the academy handles sexual assault allegations. Neither agency will confirm whether it has launched an inquiry.

The academy has said the allegations had been reviewed by multiple agencies that concluded the school handles sexual assault cases appropriately.

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Follow Dan Elliott at https://twitter.com/DanElliottAP

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