Navy football replaces Notre Dame on schedule with BYU
By BILL WAGNER | The Capital | Published: August 6, 2020
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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (Tribune News Service) — It did not take long for athletic director Chet Gladchuk to replace Notre Dame on the Navy football schedule.
Navy will host Brigham Young University on Monday, Sept. 7, at 8 p.m. in a contest televised nationally by ESPN. Thursday’s announcement comes only hours after Gladchuk learned the scheduled season opener with Notre Dame had been canceled due to the constraints of the Atlantic Coast Conference schedule.
The Midshipmen had been slated to host the Fighting Irish at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium over Labor Day weekend. No date and time for the 94th consecutive meeting between the two institutions had been set.
“Looking ahead, we have created an exciting and anticipated matchup in Annapolis with one of college football’s storied programs in BYU,” Gladchuk said in a statement. “This game will bring great national exposure for the Naval Academy, Annapolis, our state and Navy football.”
Government virus regulations in place at the time will determine how many fans will be allowed to attend the BYU-Navy game. In its announcement, the Naval Academy Athletic Association said “fan welfare and social distancing guidelines” will be in effect.
“Although attendance in our stadium will be regulated and greatly reduced, a national television audience will enjoy watching two of college football’s most storied programs kick off the season in a primetime environment,” Gladchuk said.
Thursday’s initial announcement from the ACC brought an end to the longest, continuous intersectional rivalry in college football. Navy and Notre Dame have met on the gridiron every year since 1927. That historic streak will be interrupted at 93 straight games.
However, the two institutions have reaffirmed their commitment to continuing the series. On Thursday, Gladchuk and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick agreed to extend the contract between the two schools to 2032.
Navy and Notre Dame were originally scheduled to play on Aug. 29 in Dublin, Ireland, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, the game was moved to Annapolis.
When it was announced that Notre Dame would join the Atlantic Coast Conference for the 2020 season, it eliminated the chance for Navy and Notre Dame to play this season. The ACC’s member schools can only play one non-conference contest this fall and it must be played in the home state of the ACC school.
“Obviously, many will be disappointed that our long-standing competitive streak with Notre Dame will be interrupted due to the scheduling circumstances imposed by the pandemic. However, we have agreed that Navy and Notre Dame will continue as one of college football’s longest intersectional matchups through our extension and I appreciate Notre Dame making this a priority,” Gladchuk said.
This year’s game will mark the third meeting between Navy and BYU. Longtime fans will remember when standout wide receiver and returner Phil McConkey led Navy to a thrilling 23-16 upset of BYU in the 1978 Holiday Bowl in San Diego.
BYU came to Annapolis for the 1989 season opener and beat Navy, 31-10.
BYU currently competes as an independent at the Football Bowl Subdivision level and has lost numerous games from the 2020 schedule to conference restrictions implemented due to coronavirus.
BYU was originally scheduled to play Utah (Sept. 3), Michigan State (Sept. 12), Arizona State (Sept. 19), Minnesota (Sept. 26), Missouri (Oct. 10) and Stanford (Nov. 28) in 2020. All those games have been canceled due to decisions by the Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC to play conference-only schedules.
As part of the agreement, Navy has agreed to play BYU in Provo, Utah, at a date to be determined.
Navy also announced Thursday it will not replace Lafayette on the 2020 schedule and will stay with 11 games. Lafayette is a member of the Patriot League, which announced last month it would not play football this season.