With the entire college football season at risk in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk is intent on saving one of the best rivalries in sports.
“If there’s only one game we’re going to play, it’s the Army-Navy game,” Gladchuk told ESPN on Monday. “Unless the pandemic is such at the time that we’re precluded by the City of Philadelphia to play that game, we have every intention of playing Army-Navy.”
The game will likely have to be moved or played without fans, as Philadelphia announced Tuesday a moratorium on large public events through the end of February. The Army-Navy game is scheduled to be played Dec. 12 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.
“The game is already virtually sold out,” Gladchuk said Monday. “Can we accommodate that number? I don’t know.”
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While Army is an independent, Navy football is a member of the American Athletic Conference, which has yet to make any decision on fall sports for the 2020-21 school year. They are likely in jeopardy, as conferences like the Big Ten and Pac-12 have canceled non-conference games while smaller conferences and divisions have already postponed all sports until at least January.
"We're looking all of the alternatives right now," AAC commissioner Mike Aresco recently told ESPN. "We think the time frame is three weeks to make a decision about starting the season and what kind of schedule we would have, whether we would do the 10-game, round-robin conference schedule, we could do that. Or do you do a hybrid ... if other conferences are willing to play nonconference games, we think they'll probably want to play us."
“It is a critical component of what the Naval Academy is all about. It’s all part of the educational process at a service academy,” Gladchuk told The Capital Gazette on Monday of the importance of sports. “It’s extremely important for 4,400 midshipmen to break a sweat each day in a competitive, athletic environment.”
Army and Navy have met on the football field 120 times since 1890. Navy notched a 31-7 win in 2019 to improve to 61-52-7in the all-time series.
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