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'On the Fields of Friendly Strife...'

11:04 AM, Oct 2, 2013 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
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Showing the good sense for which it is famous, the federal government—specifically the Obama Department of Defense—has announced its plans to cancel the nationally televised Air Force-Navy football game on Saturday, thereby jeopardizing millions of dollars (and inconveniencing a great many veterans) to save thousands in travel costs.  The Baltimore Sun reports:

“The U.S. Department of Defense has ordered the suspension of all service academy intercollegiate athletics as a result of the government shutdown, putting Saturday's Navy-Air Force football game in question.

“A decision on whether Saturday's game in Annapolis can be played will be made Thursday, said Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk, who added that there is a significant possibility that the game will be either canceled or postponed.

“The Air Force posted a release on its athletics website saying, ‘At this time, travel for all intercollegiate athletics is canceled -- this includes the Air Force-Navy game on Saturday, Oct. 5.’”

Gladchuk had a few cogent and welcome thoughts to share about the decision.  The Sun writes:

“Gladchuk estimated that not having the game could cost the Naval Academy in the millions of dollars and would have ‘tremendous ripple effects in regard to the community and the local economy.’

“‘When you look at the ticket revenue that would be returned, if you take [a] look at the corporate sponsorships, the hotel accommodations, the catering concessions, the parking, the restaurants in downtown Annapolis, all of our major donors were coming in, it’s reunion weekend for the 1963 Cotton Bowl team and 300 reunion groups -- it’s clearly one of the most significant Saturdays that we could possibly orchestrate at the academy,’ Gladchuk said….

“‘It’s not a decision being made on the academy grounds or within the athletic department,’ Gladchuk said. ‘It’s all being driven by the Pentagon.’”

The Sun adds:

“Navy had planned to honor its 1963 Cotton Bowl team at halftime and with a number of events throughout the weekend.”

That team, quarterbacked by Heisman Trophy-winner Roger Staubach—who was expected to be in attendance—went 9-2 and beat Michigan and Notre Dame.  There used to be rumors that Staubach, a Republican who served his full Naval Academy commitment (including a stint in Vietnam) before becoming an NFL Hall of Fame quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, would be named as secretary of Defense.  If only.

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