Notre Dame is not scheduled to play Air Force for another 25 days. The annual tilt with Navy is a month away.
But like many, the Irish may be hopeful for a swift end to the U.S. government shutdown, lest two of the games on the schedule fall into unexpected peril.
The shutdown jeopardizes this weekend’s football games – Air Force at Navy and Army at Boston College.
A Pentagon spokesman, Army Col. Steve Warren, says the suspension is being reviewed by Pentagon lawyers to determine whether funds used for these activities are congressionally appropriated funds.
The U.S. Naval Academy said in a statement that a decision will made Thursday on whether the Midshipmen will play Saturday.
At this point, all Notre Dame can do is wait and watch and communicate with both opponents, with the Department of Defense announcing Tuesday that all intercollegiate athletics at the service academies are suspended due to the shutdown.
“[We’re] certainly monitoring and engaging with the schools, but beyond that there does not appear to be a lot we can do,” Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said in an email.
Barring complications that abbreviate the timeframe – though Notre Dame would be the school doing the traveling to Air Force, anyway, in the first of the two games – this shutdown would have to be the longest the country has seen in 4 decades in order to impact the games.
The longest such break of the past 4 decades was a 21-day shutdown between 1995 and 1996.
Asked about potential Football Championship Subdivision teams serving as emergency replacements – and knowing full well Notre Dame’s steadfast refusal to dip into that level for football foes – Irish coach Brian Kelly offered a somewhat tongue-in-cheek reply.
“Oh, I’d love to look at an FCS opponent,” Kelly said, “but I would be one vote in a room with probably a lot of no’s.”