The coronavirus has reached the 2020 college football calendar.
Because of obstacles involved with international travel, Navy will not play Notre Dame as scheduled in Dublin, Ireland to open the season on Aug. 29. According to Bill Wagner of the Capital Gazette, the longest continuous intersectional rivalry in college football is coming to Annapolis for the first time ever.
In a press release, the Naval Academy said “it is the intention” of both Navy and Notre Dame to play the 94th annual edition of the game at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on Labor Day weekend. It will be televised nationally, by either ESPN or ABC.
“We are obviously disappointed not to be traveling to Ireland this August,” Naval Academy Director of Athletics Chet Gladchuk said in a statement. ”But, as expected, our priority must be ensuring the health and safety of all involved. I am expecting that we will still be able to play Notre Dame as our season opener, but there is still much to be determined by health officials and those that govern college football at large. Once we have a definitive plan in place, we will announce the specifics pertaining to the game... I realize many are disappointed and were looking forward to the spectacle of this event and a visit to the Emerald Isle, but I do know there is a complete understanding of why it’s in our best interests to make every effort to relocate the game.”
Navy last faced off against its longtime rival in Ireland in 2012, with more than 35,000 traveling from the U.S. to attend the game. About 40,000 were expected to travel to the 2020 game, before the coronavirus pandemic complicated things.
The host of the Navy vs. Notre Dame game changes almost every year. It’s been held in Jacksonville, San Diego, Philadelphia, Orlando, Cleveland and East Rutherford, among other sites. Notre Dame has also hosted the Mids in South Bend, Indiana. But home games for Navy in the series have been held at NFL stadiums in Baltimore or the Washington, D.C. area. And so, this will be the Irish’s first visit to NMCMS.
Navy and Notre Dame last played in Maryland in 2014 at FedEx Field.
Notre Dame has won eight of its last nine meetings with Navy, with the Mids getting a victory in Jacksonville in 2016, a highlight of the Will Worth-led season. The Irish lead the all-time series with a 77-13-1 mark.
According to the Capital Gazette, a decision regarding how many fans will be allowed into the stadium for the Notre Dame game will be made later this summer.