As college football programs across the country weigh the value of pursuing a 2020 season, sailors and soldiers across the country wonder: Will the Army-Navy game happen this year?
The game, which was slated to take place at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field on Dec. 12, may be put into question as the situation with COVID-19 advances.
For now, however, both teams expect to play.
“I have no idea what that game may look like once all necessary safety measures are put in place to guard against the pandemic, but if there’s only one game played in the country this year, we fully expect it will be the Army-Navy game,” Mike Buddie, West Point’s athletic director, told Military Times in a written statement.
Other conferences, like the Ivy League and Centennial Conference, have suspended fall sports. The Patriot League also canceled its fall season, but it supports the service academies being exempt from this ruling, despite their football programs not being a part of this particular conference.
“What I can tell you is that not only are we are just as eager to face Navy’s football team in Philadelphia, we intend to maximize the Patriot League exception to compete against Navy in every sport we can this year,” Greg Mogavero, West Point’s associate athletic director for strategic communications, told Military Times.
Thanks to the Patriot League, other academy sports will be allowed to compete.
“We are very fortunate that the Patriot League recognized the unique ethos and role intercollegiate competition plays in the broader missions of both Army and Navy in our mission to educate and train officers to serve in the U.S. armed forces and has excepted our institutions from their ruling allowing us to compete,” Mogavero said.
Thus far, the continuation of this storied rivalry is still in consideration for football in the teams’ respective conferences.
Both teams are eager to hit the field for the football game, which began in 1890. The teams have faced off each year since 1930, making this the 91st consecutive matchup. Currently, Navy leads with a record of 62 wins to Army’s 52. Last year, the Midshipmen won 31 to 7.
“Really our only statement right now is we plan on playing the game in Philadelphia on Dec. 12,” said Scott Strasemeier, Navy’s senior associate athletic director for sports information, in an email to Military Times.
Sarah Sicard is a Senior Editor with Military Times. She previously served as the Digitial Editor of Military Times and the Army Times Editor. Other work can be found at National Defense Magazine, Task & Purpose, and Defense News.