Military academy football teams will play this weekend despite shutdown

U.S. military academy football teams will play this weekend, despite the government shutdown.


A senior defense official said Wednesday the decision affects this weekend's games only, and future games will be evaluated as events unfold. The official was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly so spoke on condition of anonymity.

Navy later confirmed its home game against Air Force in Annapolis, Md., would be played as scheduled Saturday. The game is sold out and is the most notable one on the Midshipmen's home schedule. The Army-Navy game at the end of the season is played at a neutral site.

The Navy-Air Force game and Army's game at Boston College were in jeopardy after the Defense Department temporarily suspended sports competition at the service academies as a result of the budget impasse in Congress.

E-mail messages left with spokesmen for Army and Air Force were not immediately returned.

Navy said there has been no indication if the other 24 athletic events involving Naval Academy teams scheduled from Thursday-Sunday will take place.

The football teams will be allowed to play because the games are paid for with non-appropriated funds, and have been long planned.

Non-appropriated funds generally come from outside sources and are not approved through Congress.

Earlier in the day, Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk said he was optimistic the Pentagon would allow the games to be played.

He said the athletic department had 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 Navy's 32 other sports teams.

"It would be devastating to our budget," Gladchuk said about having a home game canceled.

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."

TENNESSEE: Sent out an e-mail to fans earlier this week trying to sell the limited amount of tickets left for Saturday’s home game against Georgia and included this: “See the debut of the new Smokey Gray jerseys.”

Georgia tight end Jay Rome wasn’t too impressed.

“You’re going to play the same way you’re going to play,” Rome said. “What you’re wearing ain’t going to matter how you’re going to play. It’s all about preparation and playing football, practicing. I know they’re going to be ready to play whether they wear orange, white, whatever they wear.”

Saturday will be the third time since the 1930s that a Volunteers team has worn anything other than orange at home.

“When you win, everyone loves them and wants you to do it again,” said Georgia coach Mark Richt, whose team has used various color uniforms. “When you lose, they want to burn them. You can’t even give them away. That goes for helmets, too.”

TEXAS: Quarterback David Ash, who is battling concussion-related symptoms from a head injury suffered in August, will not play tonight at Iowa State.

School trainers announced Wednesday that Ash would not travel with the team to Ames, either.


PENN STATE: Former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky should not get a new trial after being convicted of sexually abusing 10 boys, a state appeals court ruled Wednesday.