Game On For BC Football Vs. Army
Published: Thursday, October 3, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 3, 2013 11:10
Update: Bates confirmed today that the game will be played.
“I’m pleased to announce we will host the US Military Academy ,” Bates said in a statement. “I’m thrilled our students and those from the service academies will get to play their games this weekend. Thank you, fans, for your patience and understanding the past couple of days. Also, thanks to Army AD Boo Corrigan, who has been terrific through this process.”
A revitalized Homecoming weekend will go on as planned at Boston College. Saturday’s football game with Army, temporarily in jeopardy due to the federal government shutdown, will still be played, according to the Associated Press and ESPN. At the time of this publication, BC Athletics could not confirm the reports.
“Lots of chatter re Army game; we owe you accuracy,” athletic director Brad Bates tweeted last night shortly after the ESPN and AP reports. “In constant contact with Army tonight, will let you know asap when confirmed.”
Official approval by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel last night led to the resolution of a two-day controversy over whether or not the service academies, including Army, Navy, and Air Force, would be able to play in football games on Saturday despite the congressional budget impasse.
The Department of Defense released a statement Tuesday morning saying that all intercollegiate athletic competition had been suspended at the service academies. Men’s and women’s Army soccer games scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday were not played. The necessary use of government funding, which cannot be used during a shutdown, was preventing the competition from going forward, according to the Associated Press.
Hagel approved Saturday’s BC-Army football game, as well as the Air Force-Navy game, because the service academies will use funds not appropriated from Congress, according to the AP.
BC head coach Steve Addazio said after practice yesterday, before Hagel’s approval, that he did not feel comfortable commenting on the status, but insisted that his team has been preparing as though the game was still on.
“I don’t know that I know enough or am involved enough to make any comment other than the fact I do have great respect for the military, for the military academies, for what they represent, for what these kids go through, for what these sacrifices are,” Addazio said. “I almost feel like for me to have any commentary would be disrespectful.
“Whatever happens happens. I’m preparing for a game on Saturday, as I’m sure they are. I just hope you respect the fact that I wouldn’t know where to begin to have a commentary other than the fact that I’m sure those kids want to compete and play on that field because they’re competitors, just like our guys do. But there’s more to it than that. Out of respect for that, I think I leave it right there.”
As of this publication, the source of funding for Army’s travel to Chestnut Hill and other game costs is unknown. While trying to resolve the issue yesterday, Bates said that the problems were not simply financial.
“We have been considering and engaging all possibilities in order to play Saturday’s football game, including offering financial assistance to Army for travel,” Bates said in a statement yesterday afternoon. “We have been told by officials at the U.S. Military Academy, however, that this is not solely a financial decision.”
Bates set today at noon as the deadline for an announcement on the game.