Despite the ongoing government shutdown and the Department of Defense's decision to suspend all intercollegiate athletics at the academies, a senior defense official tells the Associated Press that the service academies football programs will be on the field this weekend.
The official, who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the decision affects this weekend's games only.
Sources tell ESPN's Brett McMurphy that Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has signed off on this weekend's games.
Air Force at Navy & Army at BC officially approved by Secretary of Defense, source told @ESPN. Will be played as scheduled— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) October 3, 2013
On Wednesday afternoon, officials at the Pentagon were in discussions about the fate of this weekend's Air Force-Navy and Army-Boston College games. Defense officials needed assurances from the service academies that no government funds will be spent on any aspect of this weekend's games. Sources told ESPN that costs would be taken care of by "non-government funding." Not a dime of government money is to be spent on travel or game expenses. Navy and former Boston College athletic director Chet Gladchuk said this weekend's Air Force-Navy game essentially pays for itself.
Pentagon officials discussing Boston College football. Going to go out on a limb and say that's a first.
Boston College coach Steve Addazio said he has been preparing the team for a game on Saturday all along and will be ready to roll.
"I really haven't paid any attention to it. In my mind, we are playing on Saturday. It's just how I feel. ... In my mind, we are just getting ready to play a game that I'm totally prepared and anticipate playing. I haven't really spent one second thinking anything different."
If the report is true, this will come as a huge relief not only to the football program, but also to the school which plans to host a number of events as part of a revamped Homecoming weekend. Homecoming festivities return to the Heights for the first time in four decades this weekend.