Navy AD optimistic Navy-Notre Dame season opener will be played in Ireland
Notre Dame and Navy are scheduled to open the 2020 college football season in Dublin, Ireland on Aug. 29. As of now, that is still the plan, although the COVID-19 pandemic has forced both schools to keep all options on the table as making a trip overseas for a college football game could ill-advised. Navy athletics director Chet Gladchuk is optimistic about the chances the game is played as scheduled, he said in an interview with ESPN.
“We’re going to play it,” Gladchuk said to Heather Dinich of ESPN. “We expect this to pass. We’re not naïve. We’re five months away from that game happening. There’s a lot that could happen in five months. If the economy and the United States are still shut down in five months, we all have significant issues, more so than a game in Dublin.”
Unlike the optimism shared by some college football coaches around the country, Gladchuck made note that the decisions made regarding the game will be heavily impacted by the medical officials.
“The game is important, but nothing will supersede the medical issues and the direction we get from the medical authorities,” Gladchuk said. “As ambitious as we are, it’s got to be cleared and travel has to be cleared and international travel has to be cleared for that to be realistic.”
Earlier this week, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly confirmed to reporters the two schools were having ongoing discussions about potentially moving the Ireland game. Where it would be moved if necessary is yet to be determined. The game is technically a Navy home game, so playing the game in Annapolis (or more likely in Baltimore or Washington D.C.) would appear to be the most likely backup plan if the game is not canceled entirely.
Navy and Notre Dame are scheduled to play in Aviva Stadium for a third time. It should go without saying that playing a game in Ireland would be great, but the more important task right now is ensuring the health and safety of all parties involved. Everybody hopes things will be relatively back to normal by the time the college football season is scheduled to begin, but will have to be sorted out as the spring and summer continue and the nation and world battles the COVID-19 outbreak.