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Air Force and Navy To Play Despite Government Shutdown

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The Air Force-Navy game scheduled for this weekend will stand after several days of uncertainty due to the shutdown of the federal government.

Navy Athletics tweeted that Saturday’s contest between the Falcons and Midshipmen in Annapolis’ Navy-Marine Corps Stadium will kick off as scheduled at 11:30 a.m. EST. Time Sports, quoting a senior defense official, reports that the game will continue as planned because football programs such as Navy's are self-funded. The Air Force-Navy game alone earns a reported $4 million in revenue from tickets, parking and television and radio rights, to name a few.

That means Army's game against Boston College also will proceed as scheduled.

The 46th meeting between Air Force (2-1) and Navy (1-4) was in jeopardy after many government services were forced to shudder its activity as politicians tried to resolve a legislative stalemate in Washington.

In an ominous move Tuesday, Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun canceled his weekly coach’s teleconference and players weren’t made available to the media. Optimism returned Wednesday night, however, when Navy Athletics tweeted that Saturday’s contest was “a GO” for its originally scheduled time. The weekend games of Navy's other varsity athletics programs still were in jeopardy as of Wednesday night, Navy said.

The cancellation would have marked the first time since 1999 that the game — part of the Commander-In-Chief Trophy series — wasn’t played on either the last weekend of September or in its traditional first-weekend-of-October slot. The game wasn’t jeopardized in 1995-96, the last time the federal government shut its doors.

Air Force (1-4) enters the game on a four-game losing slide and is coming off a 45-42 loss to Nevada. Navy (2-1) is fresh off its first loss of the season, a 19-7 defeat at the hands of the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. Air Force leads all-time series, 27-18.

Saturday's game will kick off at 11:30 a.m. EST and will be aired on CBS.