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Government Shutdown Still Threatens to Shut Down Army, Navy and Air Force

These boys just want their football to go on.
These boys just want their football to go on.Ron Antonelli/Getty Images
Sebastian LenaAnalyst IOctober 8, 2013

After dodging the government-shutdown bullet last weekend, football teams from Army, Air Force and Navy are left wondering if they can play football for the second straight week.

Army and Air Force are set to play host to Eastern Michigan and San Diego State respectively, while Navy is scheduled to play at Duke.

Using government funds to travel has been at the heart of the problem for the teams during the shutdown. Since Army and Air Force play home games this week, that won't be a problem for them.

Meanwhile, Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk told the Associated Press on Monday that the service academy is providing more information to the Defense Department showing it won't use any government funds to get to its game at Duke.

Per Don Markus of the Baltimore Sun, Gladchuk said Sunday, "No one’s told us that we can’t play the game and we're proceeding on playing the game unless someone calls me or the superintendent and says otherwise. I don’t want to minimize the issue or the angst in the difficult times we're all having ... Tomorrow I'll know better because the chief of staff [of the academy] will have directives for the faculty and staff at large."

This news comes as no surprise, as the Defense Department temporarily suspended all sports competition at the service academies as a result of the budget impasse in Congress. Although the football games were eventually allowed to go on, it was noted that it was just for the weekend until further notice.

Last week Air Force had to rely on Texas-based insurance and banking company United Services Automobile Association to cover its $230,000 in travel expenses, according to the Associated Press. Even the Black Knights’ opponent over the weekend, Boston College, offered to foot the bill to bring the team to Chestnut Hill, per Graham Watson of Yahoo! Sports.

Last week's contests required approval from Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to proceed as scheduled.

Regardless, Navy's Gladchuk is confident his football team will play this Saturday.

"Duke has a clear understanding as of this moment that Navy will be heading south to Durham," he told the AP. "No one has told us we can’t play."

 

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