Army will play Boston College this weekend, after the Pentagon approved the service schools - Army, Navy , & Air Force - request to play their scheduled games despite the United States government shutting down until they can resolve their budget crisis. Boston College had offered to help Army with the travel costs to get to the school for their Saturday afternoon match-up. (Photo : Youtube.com)
The NCAA football teams for Army, Navy, and Air Force have received the final approval from the Secretary of Defense to compete this weekend despite a partial shutdown of the American government.
All three schools faced the possibility of having their games canceled due to the budget impasse in Congress. Navy is scheduled to take on Air Force while Army goes up against Boston College his weekend. Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren said that the decision was being reviewed by lawyers to help determine the legality of using funds for the games despite the government shutdown.
"There are differences in how each academy funds their athletics programs," Defense Department spokesman Bill Urban said ESPN.com. "One academy can pay for its entire program through non-appropriated funds. Others do not have that setup."
Navy felt a cancellation of their nationally televised game against Air Force would have been too costly for the program. Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuck pointed out to the Pentagon that Navy home games brought in $4 million in revenue from tickets, parking, merchandise, concession, sponsorship, television and radio rights fees, with the games essentially paying for themselves. Football revenue also helps support their other 32 sports teams, as well.
"It would be devastating to our budget," said Gladchuck.
United Airlines offered to help Air Force out by flying them to Annapolis for free for the Navy game while Boston College offered to help Army with the cost of travel for the game.
"I'm thrilled our students and those from the service academies will get to play their games this weekend," said BC athletic director Brad Bates. "Thank you, fans, for your patience and understanding the past couple of days."