(AP) – The service academy football teams prepared Wednesday for games that might not be played, while military and school officials considered ways to avoid postponements caused by the partial government shutdown.
Army’s trip to Boston College and Air Force’s game at Navy in Annapolis, Md., on Saturday are in jeopardy. The Defense Department temporarily suspended sports competition at the service academies Tuesday as a result of the budget impasse in Congress.
Academy officials are hoping the football games will be played regardless of whether the shutdown is lifted.
“We’re optimistic things are moving in the right direction,” Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk said Wednesday.
He said the athletic department has provided information to Pentagon officials to assure them that no government funds will be spent on any aspect of the game. Gladchuk said a Navy home game brings in about $4 million from tickets, sponsorship, television and radio rights fees and other revenues such as parking and concessions. The game essentially pays for itself, he said.
Football revenue also funds most of Navy’s 32 other sports teams.
“It would be devastating to our budget,” Gladchuk said of having a home game canceled.
Gladchuk said ultimately the decision will be made by the secretary of defense. The deadline to save the games is Thursday at noon, Gladchuk said.
BC athletic director Brad Bates said in a statement that the school was considering providing financial assistance to Army for travel to Chestnut Hill, Mass.
“We have been told by officials at the US Military Academy, however, that this is not solely a financial decision,” Bates said.
The coaches and players involved were still preparing for the games to be played.
“I wouldn’t say they’re oblivious, but they are practicing and trying to maintain that laser focus,” Gladchuk said.
Boston College coach Steve Addazio said: “In my mind, we are playing on Saturday. It’s just how I feel.”
Earlier Wednesday, the Naval Academy’s Twitter account erroneously posted that Saturday’s game with Air Force was on. Athletic department spokesman Scott Strasemeier shot that down quickly, saying there had been no decision made yet and that the academy was looking into the false tweet.
And on a lighter note, United Airlines in a tweet offered to provide free transportation to the Air Force team from Colorado Springs to Maryland.
“We hate cancellations, so we’re offering to fly @AF_Academy to this year’s Air Force-Navy game. Retweet if you agree,” the company’s official Twitter account posted.
– By RALPH D. RUSSO, AP College Football Writer
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