Let the games continue.
The Air Force Academy announced late Monday night that all athletic events will resume immediately. In the hours before that, teams had returned to practice.
“Great to be back in the gym,” someone within the men’s basketball program told The Gazette shortly after practice resumed following a government shutdown.
Though normalcy was restored, many unanswered questions remain.
Sources close to Fresno State say its men’s basketball program has pinpointed a pair of Mondays in the upcoming months in which it could make up Saturday’s game that was cancelled as Air Force shut down all sporting events. However, insiders from the Falcons said any such decisions remained days away and there was no guarantee that the game would be made up at all.
Reports indicate the hockey game against Sacred Heart could be made up on an undisclosed date in February. But specifics beyond that are not yet available.
A spokesman from Air Force public affairs said a decision hadn’t been made about how the department will handle refunds for those who had purchased tickets to any of the cancelled events. If the games are made up, the issue would be moot.
Answers in general have been slow to come in from Air Force, which is understandable considering even upper-level personnel like athletic director Jim Knowlton were forced away from work during the shutdown.
With order restored after fewer than 72 hours, the net loss to Air Force’s basketball and hockey teams could potentially not be all that substantial. Sunday for most teams is a day off, so nothing changed there. Since teams were able to practice again Monday, they didn’t lose an additional day. If the games can be made up, then this would have been no different than a severe snowstorm wiping out a weekend’s worth of activities.
Of course, it’s more complicated than that when factoring in the negative national spotlight the cancellations put on the programs, particularly when compared to the self-funded departments at Army and Navy that were able to continue through the shutdown. Also, if these games are made up, it will mean squeezing them into an already busy athletic and academic schedule, which will contribute to the season’s grind that is always magnified at service academies.
This also doesn’t factor in any of the missed meets and competitions for various other Falcons sports.
It’s been an unprecedented couple of days at the academy, but at least as balls started bouncing on Monday, some of the normal feel began to return.