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Impact of government shutdown remains a mystery for Air Force, but Navy game could be in question

October 4, 2013 Updated: October 4, 2013 at 7:53 am
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photo - Air Force Academy head coach Troy Calhoun yells instructions to players during the first day of practice Thursday, August 1, 2013. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette
Air Force Academy head coach Troy Calhoun yells instructions to players during the first day of practice Thursday, August 1, 2013. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette 

The Air Force football team began preparation for Navy week with the knowledge that a government shutdown could throw a number of unknowns into the equation, putting even the game itself in jeopardy.

"All of our preparation is that there will be a game," coach Troy Calhoun said.

But it's not a certainly. Most of Air Force's behind-the-scenes support staff, classified as civil service employees, would not be eligible to travel. Calhoun and most of his coaching staff would be exempt, but there's gray area when it comes to the cadets themselves.

"Even in the remote chance that there wasn't a game," Calhoun said, "the training and discipline that's involved in being able to prepare is something that's helpful for a person, too."

Players were stunned to hear that the game could be on the chopping block if a shutdown isn't averted.

"Wow, I hadn't heard that," linebacker Joey Nichol said. "I've been asking around to see how it would affect us. I have trust in our system."

Many non-revenue sports could lose their coaching staffs if certain employees are not allowed to work during a shutdown. Athletic director Hans Mueh could also be impacted, just as he was by furloughs during sequestration.

The faculty at the academy, many are civilians, could also see a reduction in hours.

"I happen to like them very much and would appreciate if they could still be able to teach me," guard Moshood Adeniji said.

The attitude among most who could see fallout from the situation is to simply take a wait-and-see approach. They've seen other situations build up and find a last-minute resolution or a workaround.

That being said, they are bracing for difficult news when they arrive at work on Tuesday morning.

"Somehow we ought to be able to get organized as a country," Calhoun said. "But we live in a world where a lot of times you think you absolutely have to be either a conservative or a Democrat, one or the other, rather than some unity."

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