Naval Academy Superintendent Vice Admiral Michael Miller has decided to follow the recommendation of military prosecutors and schedule a preliminary hearing known as an Article 32, an academy spokesman told The Washington Post.
The procedure, similar to a civilian grand jury investigation, could ultimately lead to general courts-martial for the unnamed players if found guilty.
An official who spoke on condition of anonymity told CNN the alleged victim initially accused the three about a year ago, dropped the complaint, but renewed it this year.
Susan Burke, an attorney for the alleged victim, said in a statement to CNN her client was at an off-campus party in April 2012 and became intoxicated. She said she had "little recall" of what happened when she woke up at the house the following day.
"She learned from social media and from friends that three football players had claimed to have had sexual intercourse with her while incapacitated," Burke said.
Burke said when the woman reported the incident to authorities, she was disciplined for drinking. No action was taken against the athletes.