The fight between the Democrats and Republicans over the Affordable Care Act escalated into a partial government shutdown this week. While Americans in the government workforce are feeling the pinch, university athletic programs across the country are starting to run into problems as well.
The Air Force Academy Falcons, Naval Academy Midshipmen, and Army Black Knights are the nation’s three service academies with full athletic programs. At the beginning of the week, all three school’s athletic programs were completely shutdown from funding.
The funding cutoff to the service academies resulted in all intercollegiate athletic programs to be suspended from all travel immediately, thus cancelling and postponing many games scheduled for the weekend.
Air Force, a Mountain West affiliate, had two different matchups scheduled with Boise State over the weekend, both of which were postponed.
The first announcement came for the Boise State volleyball team on Tuesday, Oct. 2 when a press release stated the Friday, Oct. 4 game with Air Force had been postponed.
“Yeah that was a bizarre situation. We started hearing from their coaches as early as Monday about what might happen and we were kind of just in a waiting pattern,” Boise State volleyball head coach Shawn Garus said. “Up until yesterday afternoon we didn’t know if we were preparing for Air Force or New Mexico.”
The postponement of the match creates a gray area for how the Broncos schedule will shape up.
“I’m interested to see what happens. We’ve heard anywhere from we’re going to reschedule it to it could be just canceled and be a no contest,” Garus said. “No forfeit, it would just be like it never happened, like it was never on the schedule.”
The other event canceled for Bronco athletics this weekend was a matchup on Sunday afternoon for the soccer team.
Soccer was on an hour-to-hour basis for most of the week, but did not find out the game would be canceled until late Friday morning. Boise State head coach Jim Thomas was disappointed the game wouldn’t be played.
“Its really, really unfortunate. I feel for those guys [Air Force] and the team there,” Thomas said. “It’s by no fault of their own that they are unable to play at the moment.”
This government shutdown also jeopardized many crucial and historic football games for the service academies. These games were eventually cleared for play, but that was not the case for most of the week.
Most notable, was the football game between the Air Force Academy and the Naval Academy, which has been played annually since 1972. Army’s game with Boston College had also been canceled at the time.
While football games for all three service academies were cleared for play over the weekend, no other intercollegiate athletic programs were reinstated. This could have major repercussions for conference play moving forward for several sports.