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US military football teams to play despite shutdown

Safety Devon Carrington of Army and linebacker Julian Holloway collide in a game against Stanford September 14, 2013 in West Point, New York
Safety Devon Carrington of Army and linebacker Julian Holloway collide in a game against Stanford September 14, 2013 in West Point, New York

The US Army, Navy and Air Force football teams will go ahead with their games Saturday despite a government shutdown that forced the military academies to cancel some sporting events.

Officials said Friday the academies got the green light to play because the scheduled games, which attract big crowds and television audiences, will not be funded with government money.

The games are generally paid for with a mixture of ticket sales, sponsorship deals, television rights, private donations and other revenue generated by the events.

"The Naval Academy has confirmed Saturday's football game against Air Force will be played as scheduled," said academy spokesman Commander John Schofield.

The Naval Academy's football program is funded "100 percent by external revenue," he said. "The program is not funded by government-appropriated dollars."

Navy will host their Air Force football rivals at home at Annapolis, Maryland on Saturday, while Army will take on Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts as scheduled, officials said.

The Coast Guard football team, which plays in Division III, also will go ahead with its game as planned against Western New England on Saturday.

The Navy-Air Force game had been up in the air in the wake of the shutdown, as officials had to make sure no government funds would be used to cover the travel costs of the Air Force squad flying from Colorado.

The military academies rely on their revenue-generating football programs to pay for other sports on campus.

With a divided Congress failing to approve government funds for the new fiscal year, the shutdown has forced civilian faculty at the military academies on unpaid leave and the cancellation of other sporting events, from volleyball to soccer matches.

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