Right Field

Cancellation of Service Academy Football Games is About ‘Optics’

Wow. Via CapitalGazette.com on the possible cancellation of the Air Force-Navy football game. As both academies have athletic programs that are privately funded, there really isn’t any reason why they shouldn’t play:

Politics at play?

The Department of Defense did not issue an official statement about the suspension of service academy sports and did not respond to telephone and email requests for comment.

However, the Naval Academy Superintendent’s Office received the order on Tuesday morning and Scott Strasemeier, associate athletic director for sports information, announced Tuesday night’s men’s soccer game between Navy and Howard had been postponed indefinitely.

“We are also hopeful for a last-minute reprieve,” Gladchuk said. “Right now, we are taking things a half day at a time and holding our breath that the government can bring this thing (the shutdown) to a resolution.”

The Naval Academy Athletic Association is a private organization not funded by the government. Gladchuk said the Air Force-Navy game could be held without any “appropriated funding.” Air Force recently created a similar athletic association that operates using private funds, donations and revenue from intercollegiate contests.

“We could run our entire athletics program and conduct events as we always do without any government funds,” Gladchuk said. “In talking to the Air Force athletic director, their football team could execute the trip without government funding.”

Asked why the Department of Defense was suspending intercollegiate athletic contests if government funds are not required, Gladchuk said he was told it was about “optics.”

“It’s a perception thing. Apparently it doesn’t resonate with all the other government agencies that have been shut down,” Gladchuk said.

The whole thing here.

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