Boston College’s football team averted the postponement of its homecoming game Saturday against Army when school officials confirmed that the Department of Defense cleared the service academy football teams to participate in games this weekend, despite a shutdown of the federal government.
After the government was shut down Monday at midnight, the Department of Defense Tuesday suspended all intercollegiate athletic events at the service academies, resulting in the cancellation of men’s and women’s soccer games at the US Naval and Military academies.
The suspension threatened the postponement or cancellation of Navy’s home game against Air Force in Annapolis, Md., where Navy’s 1963 Cotton Bowl team is to be feted, and the BC-Army game at Chestnut Hill, where the 2013 class of inductees into BC’s Varsity Club Hall of Fame are to be recognized along with the 1988 BC football team on the silver anniversary of its victory over Army in the inaugural Emerald Isle Classic in Dublin.
“The thing I’m most excited about is that players from two teams who live for these moments can have the opportunity to go out and compete against one another,’’ said BC athletic director Brad Bates. “So when you look into the eyes of the students and see their excitement, that’s what really makes it all worthwhile.’’
In an attempt to avoid the postponement of BC’s homecoming game for the first time in decades, Bates said the school exhausted all options, even offering to provide financial assistance to cover Army’s travel expenses. But, Bates was told, “it wasn’t a financial issue.’’
When Pentagon officials met Wednesday and decided to allow service academy football teams to play this weekend, BC was spared the loss of millions in game revenue and kept intact plans to host alums on campus for homecoming weekend activities.
“The opportunity for our alums to come back to the Heights was really exciting and there was a lot of momentum heading into the game,’’ Bates said. “And so, knowing now all those alums will be coming back, we’ll have a football game for them to attend.’’