I’m guessing this wouldn’t sit well with one side of the Navy-Notre dame rivalry.
Navy and Notre Dame are set to open the season in Dublin, Ireland, Aug. 29. However, because of the coronavirus pandemic, there have already been talks about moving the game to a different location. The Navy athletic director, though, is optimistic the game with Notre Dame will be played as scheduled.
Earlier this month, Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the country’s foremost infectious disease experts, stated during an interview that pro sports could resume in the summer, provided there were no fans in the stadiums. Appearing that same day NBC‘s Lunch Talk Live show hosted by Mike Tirico, Notre Dame’s athletic director once again pushed back against the idea of college football games being fan-less.
“It is not for me,” Jack Swarbrick stated succinctly. “I don’t know how we reopen our campuses. Put students back in dorms and in dining halls. And then say we can’t be in a football stadium together. That doesn’t feel compatible to me.
“Beyond the fact I think college football needs the marching band and the cheerleaders and the fans and everything that’s essential to the experience. This is more about, we have to be consistent in our approach. I’m not sure how you say ‘we’re okay with the students engaging on the field, but not fans in the stands.’
“Now, might there be approaches to fans in the stands that are a little different, that help ensure safety? Absolutely. But I can’t see playing in empty stadiums.
Tuesday, there was a related development that could potentially impact the Navy-Notre Dame game.
By way of the Irish Times, the government in Ireland will be banning events of 5,000 or more people until at least Sept. 1. From the report:
However, there are a number of largescale future events which require licensing and the involvement of the HSE and Garda Síochána, and public consultation in that licensing process which fall to be determined in advance of that by local authorities.”
“While the issue of restrictions on future mass gatherings is a decision to be taken by the NPHET, in the case of these particular events, and taking account of the impacts on the integrity of the licensing process in the short-term due to restrictions on stakeholder involvement, local authorities have been advised by Government that event promoters should be informed that events requiring licenses in excess of 5,000 will not be considered for the period up to the end of August.
The Times noted that “[a]lthough sporting events are not covered by licenses they are also likely to be canceled in the coming weeks.” Aviva Stadium, where the game is scheduled to be played, has a capacity of 51,700.
The Sept. 1 date could prove problematic because, as we noted previously, the Navy-Notre Dame game is scheduled to be played Aug. 29 in that country. Would the two programs travel to another continent to play in front of fewer than 5,000 fans? Or no fans at all?
Of course, with each passing day, there seems to be a very good chance that the 2020 college football season will be pushed back. Pushed back, perhaps, to February of next year. Which could very well make this whole discussion a moot point, in reality.