ESPN's Brett McMurphy is reporting that Army, Air Force and Navy will play football this weekend after all. Sources told ESPN that all the service academies are waiting on is final approval from the Secretary of Defense.
"The games (Air Force at Navy, Army at Boston College) have been approved to be played by everyone at the service academies, even the lawyers," the source told McMurphy. "Everyone is in. All the boxes are checked, just waiting for approval by the Secretary of Defense, who has final say, which would make it official."
The four schools have said that a final decision will be made by noon Thursday at the latest.
Your move, Chuck Hagel.
While every situation is different, the ESPN report also notes that each of the three service academies played games during the last government shutdown in 1995. However, each of those games were played at home. Boston College, which has a long history of playing the service academies in football, played Navy twice during federal government shutdowns in 1976 (17-13 BC in Annapolis) and 1978 (19-8 Navy in Chestnut Hill).
For those worried about the U.S. Coast Guard Academy's Saturday home game against Western New England, fret not. The game will be played in New London, Connecticut as scheduled as the DoD edict does not apply to the service academy. The Coast Guard Academy is overseen by the Department of Homeland Security; not the Department of Defense.