Sports

Navy-Air Force Football Game Likely Cancelled Due To Government Shutdown

| by Jonathan Wolfe

Here’s another yet another fallout from the on-going government shutdown: this week’s Air Force vs. Navy football game may be cancelled.

Naval Academy Athletic Director Chet Gladchuk reported yesterday that the Department of Defense is suspending all intercollegiate athletic activities at the three major service academies.

“We are also hopeful for a last-minute reprieve,” Gladchuk said. “Right now, we are taking things a half day at a time and holding our breath that the government can bring this thing (the shutdown) to a resolution… It's not a decision being made on the academy grounds or within the athletic department. It's all being driven by the Pentagon.

“The emotional toll it would take would be incalculable. The financial toll it would take would be incalculable.”

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The Naval Academy, expecting a sold-out crowd of over 38,000 for Saturday’s game, would lose an estimated $4 million in revenue if the game is cancelled.

Perhaps the most frustrating factor for service academy athletic officials to deal with is the fact that the game could be played without using any government funds.

“There would be no cost to the government, there are zero appropriated funds in terms of conducting this contest at the Naval Academy,” Gladchuk said. “It has no affect on the budget of the government one way or the other. What it does is that it eliminates the opportunity for the academy to generate critical revenue to support 33 varsity sports.”

Asked why the game wouldn’t be played if no government funds are used, Gladchuk said it is an issue of “optics.”

“It’s a perception thing. Apparently it doesn’t resonate with all the other government agencies that have been shut down.”

The Naval Academy won’t be the only organization losing money if the game is cancelled. Annapolis, Maryland hotels, restaurants, and bars will miss out on thousands of customers -- and dollars – as well.

Keep it up, Congress. You all are doing an awesome job. 

Sources: Capital Gazette, Baltimore Sun