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Navy-Air Force football game may fall victim to federal shutdown

By THOMAS O'TOOLE | USA Today | Published: October 1, 2013

The government shutdown might affect college football this weekend and is already having an impact on other sports..

A decision will be made by noon ET Thursday on whether to postpone Saturday's sold-out game in Annapolis, Md., between the Naval Academy and Air Force, according to a release from Navy. The game also is planned for national TV coverage on CBS (11:30 a.m. ET).

According to the release, the Department of Defense has suspended all intercollegiate athletics competitions at all three academies, including West Point. For example, Tuesday night's Navy-Howard soccer game has been canceled.

The suspensions of athletics will last through the government shutdown. If the shutdown is going to extend through the weekend, then the Navy-Air Force game would be postponed, a person with knowledge of the decision process told USA TODAY Sports. The person requested anonymity because they were not cleared to speak publicly.

Troy Garnhart, an associate athletics director for Air Force, told The (Annapolis) Capital newspaper that upper-class cadets at Air Force are considered military personnel, which means they could be subject to travel restrictions under the shutdown.

If a postponement happens, both teams have room at the end of the season to make up the game. Navy is off from Nov. 22 until Dec. 14, when it plays Army. Air Force concludes its season Nov. 30. The Mountain West is debuting a conference championship game this year. That game is scheduled for the following week, but Air Force already is 0-4 in the league.

A call to Army about its Saturday game at Boston College was not immediately returned; neither were calls to BC.

Navy is 2-1 after a loss last week at Western Kentucky. Air Force is 1-4 and on a four-game losing streak that is the Falcons' longest since a four-game slide to end the 2006 season.

Army goes into Saturday's game at Boston College at 2-3, coming off a win against Louisiana Tech at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.

One event already affected is Air Force football coach Troy Calhoun's weekly news conference.

In an email Tuesday morning, Garnhart wrote: "Due to the government shutdown today's press conference with head football coach Troy Calhoun and selected football players is cancelled. Should the government shutdown end we will look at rescheduling. There will be no media availability with coach Calhoun or players today."

Contributing: Dan Wolken
 

Navy quarterback Trey Miller gains yardage as the Air Force Falcons met Navy at the U.S. Air Force Academy's Falcon Stadium in Colorado Springs, Colo. Oct 6, 2012. Navy won, 28-21.
MARK WATKINS/U.S. AIR FORCE FILE PHOTO

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