|Decision on BC-Army, AFA-Navy games by today|
|Thursday, October 03, 2013 12:19 AM|
By RALPH D. RUSSO
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 added 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, noting 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 explained.
Football revenue also funds most of Navy’s 32 other sports teams.
“It would be devastating to our budget,” Gladchuk noted of having a home game canceled, adding ultimately the decision will be made by the secretary of defense. The deadline to save the games is today at noon.
BC athletic director Brad Bates announced 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 wrote.
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 (at)AF—Academy to this year’s Air Force-Navy game. Retweet if you agree,” the company’s official Twitter account posted.