|Will Pegula Ice Arena look like this at 8:00 p.m. on October 11th?|
Federal government shutdowns, such as the one initiated today due to political haggling over the funding and implementation of Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, are sort of a funny thing in that nobody really thinks it has an impact on their lives until it does. After all, "essential services," like the prisons, postal service and armed forces remain unaffected.
Then there are sports. On Tuesday, the Naval Academy posted this brief release to their website:
As a result of the government shutdown, the Department of Defense has suspended all intercollegiate athletic competitions at the Service Academies.As of this post, similar releases have not been posted to Army's and Air Force's websites. Those two, of course, are the opponents for the first three games of the men's hockey season, with the Black Knights coming to Pegula Ice Arena on October 11th - just ten days from now - and PSU traveling out to Colorado Springs, CO for a two-game series with the Falcons on the following weekend.
The Naval Academy will cancel contests as appropriate and notification on Saturday's football game against Air Force will be made public prior to 12 noon on Thursday.
Tonight's soccer game against Howard has been cancelled. It is not known at this time if the game will be made up or not.
The Daily Collegian's Darian Somers jumped on his horse and immediately confirmed that, according to Penn State, "everything is status quo." Should the shutdown continue, and given the timing of the decision on the Navy-Air Force football game, I imagine "status quo" will remain the case for another week or so before a call needs to be made.
For reference, the last federal government shutdown, spanning 1995 and 1996, lasted 21 days. A repeat of that would probably kill the hockey games, although the good news is that a majority of shutdowns throughout history have lasted less than one week.
UPDATE 10/1, 2:35 P.M.: The Air Force Academy has released a statement containing possible good news for the Nittany Lions' series on October 18th and 19th:
At this time, travel for all intercollegiate athletics is cancelled - this includes the Air Force-Navy game on Saturday, 5 Oct.UPDATE 10/2, 1:45 A.M.: As things stand right now...
The Air Force Academy Falcons will attempt to play all home intercollegiate athletic contests but those may be cancelled, as well. Academy officials are working with Mountain West Conference officials, those teams the Falcons were scheduled to play and officials at The Department of the Air Force to make up as many games as possible.
- Army has begun cancelling sporting events "in accordance with a directive from the Department of Defense," including a men's soccer game on Tuesday and a women's soccer game on Wednesday, with the statement that "any other changes to the Army Athletics schedule will be announced as they become available."
- Because people really like sports, they have begun brainstorming ways to fund service academy sporting contests without government money. Some combination of conference fees, ticket revenue and TV money could be used to save the Air Force-Navy football game on Saturday, and should that go off, it could provide a model for playing other games while the government remains closed.