Lest the comments section of SaturdayBlitz.com devolve into a cesspool, I’ll avoid the specifics behind Tuesday’s government shutdown.
What matters to college football specifically is that the Congressional budgetary impasse gravely impacts at least one program. The Air Force Falcons began what could be an arduous second half to the season by canceling head coach Troy Calhoun’s scheduled press conference on Day 1 of Government Shutdown 2013.
Due to the government shutdown, #AirForce has canceled today’s press conference with Troy Calhoun and players.
— Bruce Feldman (@BFeldmanCBS) October 1, 2013
The possibility of Air Force cancelling its scheduled Week 6 game is very real, which impacts the Falcons’ bowl aspirations. It also threatens the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy series, as Saturday’s scheduled tilt between Air Force and Navy marked the first leg.
The Department of Defense is scheduled to announce a decision by Thursday at noon ET, per NavySports.com.
While the Midshipmen lose on a highly anticipated and sold out rivalry game, the situation is far less dire in Annapolis.
So why is Air Force faced with cancellation and its service academy counterpart Navy not?
In the 2008-09 athletic year, the Colorado Springs Gazette reports Air Force’s football travel budget was just south of $900,000.
USA Today reports that from 2006-2011, the Academy’s athletic expenditures exceeded its revenue.
Because Navy’s athletic programs operate through the private 501(c)(3) charity Naval Academy Athletic Association, its finances were not tracked among public institutions.
The NAAA also spares Mids football from the same uncertainty the government shutdown now brings over Air Force. It’s spelled out very clearly in the NAAA mission statement:
The Naval Academy Athletic Association is not a government agency or instrumentality and is not part of the United States Naval Academy or the United States government.
Paul Myerberg of USA Today reports:
Issue is AFA traveling. Navy's athl. dept. is not gov't but a 501c3. Conceivably, wouldn't be an issue if game was in Colorado.
— Paul Myerberg (@PaulMyerberg) October 1, 2013
College football is a very frivolous component of the government shutdown, but the looming threat for this Saturday demonstrates just how far-reaching this political struggles is.