Govt. shutdown puts service academy sports on hold
Army quarterback Angel Santiago (3) is dragged down by the helmet by Louisiana Tech safety Thomas McDonald (33) just shy of the end zone on a quarterback keeper in the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013, in Dallas. Army won 35-16. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
WASHINGTON – Army, Navy and Air Force might be forced to skip their football games next weekend because of the budget impasse in Congress.
The Defense Department temporarily suspended sports competition at the service academies Tuesday as a result of the partial government shutdown.
A Pentagon spokesman, Army Col. Steve Warren, said the decision was being reviewed by lawyers to determine whether the funds used for such activities are congressionally appropriated.
Meantime, the suspension put a pair of college football games in jeopardy: Army at Boston College, and Air Force at Navy.
The U.S. Naval Academy said in a statement that a decision will be made by noon Thursday about whether the Midshipmen will play the Air Force. Navy’s football team did practice Tuesday.
Air Force associate athletic director Troy Garnhart said travel for his sports teams was being halted – including for Saturday’s football game at Annapolis, Md. A scheduled news conference with Air Force football coach Troy Calhoun and players was canceled Tuesday “due to the government shutdown,” according to a statement.
The football rivalry between Navy and Air Force dates to 1960, and they have played each other every year since 1972. Saturday’s game is sold out.
As for Army against Boston College, B.C. athletic director Brad Bates said: “We have been in close communication with Army athletics officials regarding the potential impact of the government shutdown on this Saturday’s football game. Obviously our intention is to exhaust all possibilities to play the game and we will communicate the information promptly as soon as we have resolution.”
The U.S. Military Academy issued a statement saying, “Sporting competitions can still be at risk but are being assessed by our chain of command and Department of the Army.”
Navy’s soccer game against Howard, scheduled for Tuesday night, was called off. It was not immediately known whether it would be made up.
UConn quarterback is next to lose job: Connecticut changed football coaches this week. Next week it plans to change quarterbacks.
Interim coach T.J. Weist took the red shirt off highly touted freshman Tim Boyle and announced that Boyle would start over Chandler Whitmer when the Huskies next play Oct. 12 against South Florida (0-4).
Whitmer, a junior, has completed 71 of 129 passes for 896 yards, with five touchdowns and six interceptions. But he has led an offense that ranks 119th out of 123 bowl subdivision programs and, more importantly, is 0-4.
Calls for a change began before this week’s firing of Paul Pasqualoni. And the former coach, speaking to reporters Monday night, said the switch to the 6-foot-4 Boyle already was in the works. He says the staff just wanted to give him some more practice time before putting him on the field.
UConn is off this week. Weist says he’ll be using that time to evaluate all his personnel and determine what other changes may be needed.
2 Purdue receivers released after arrests: Purdue receivers B.J. Knauf and Jordan Woods have posted bond and been released after being arrested for theft Monday.
The Lafayette Journal and Courier first reported the arrests.
Knauf is a starting receiver who has nine receptions for 95 yards and rushed 11 times for 92 yards and one TD this season. Woods is a redshirt freshman who has not caught a pass.
According to the newspaper, Lafayette police were called to a Kohl’s department store at about 5:30 p.m. after the two allegedly stole two tie bars, valued at $20 each.
The school issued a statement Tuesday saying coach Darrell Hazell was aware of the arrests and would wait for the legal process to play out before determining any punishment.