Even before a 2020 college football season looked certain, the 2020 Army-Navy Game always looked like it’d happen no matter what. It is still on, but it sounds like it is being moved from Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field this December.
“If there’s only one game we’re going to play, it’s the Army-Navy game,” Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk said back in July. “Unless the pandemic is such at the time that we’re precluded by the city of Philadelphia to play that game, we have every intention of playing Army-Navy.”
Pennsylvania is just starting to let fans attend games on a very limited basis. It doesn’t sound like it is up to where Army and Navy would like things to be for the game. The most recent restrictions limit to attendance to 7,500 total people, including athletes and staff, which meant about 5,000 fans are able to go to Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers games right now.
Bill Wagner of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Md. broke the news that the Army-Navy Game will instead be played at Army’s Michie Stadium in West Point. It is the first on-campus edition of the game since 1943, when Army also hosted.
I have learned from a source not affiliated with the Naval Academy athletic department that this year's Army-Navy football game will not be played in Philadelphia. According to the source, the 121st Army-Navy game will be held at Michie Stadium in West Point. @NavyFB
— Bill Wagner (@BWagner_CapGaz) October 23, 2020
Per Chris Vannini of The Athletic, the attendance limits in Pennsylvania wouldn’t allow all Cadets and Midshipmen to attend the game. Right now, West Point is the only place in New York State hosting sports fans, as 4,400 Cadets are allowed to attend Army home games this season, though no other fans have been able to enter Michie Stadium.
According to the Times-Herald Record, because the United States Military Academy is federal property, it is not beholden to the state’s attendance guidelines. Still, it sounds like attendance will be limited to Cadets and Midshipmen, who both live in pretty insular environments, so limiting the spread of COVID-19 should be easier for the Army-Navy Game than just about any other played this season.
NEWS: This year’s Army-Navy game has been moved to West Point "due to attendance limits placed on outdoor events in the state of Pennsylvania that would not allow the entire Corps of Cadets and Brigade of Midshipmen to attend.”
First on-campus matchup since 1943.
— Chris Vannini 😷 (@ChrisVannini) October 23, 2020
Philadelphia is the traditional home of the game, but it is occasionally played elsewhere, including the Meadowlands, Baltimore, Landover, Md., and going back to the 1930s and earlier, New York, Chicago, and Princeton, NJ. In 1983, the game was even played at the Rose Bowl.
Navy football leads the all-time series 61-52-7, and snapped a three-game Army win streak last season.
Army is 5-1 to start the season, while Navy is 3-2. This year’s game is scheduled for Dec. 12.
Update: Army has now officially announced that it will host the game.
2020 Army-Navy Game Presented by @USAA to be Played at West Point.
— Army Football (@ArmyWP_Football) October 23, 2020
“Unfortunately, we will not be allowed to visit the home of Army-Navy this December,” Gladchuk says in the schools’ press release. “History will repeat itself as we stage this cherished tradition on Academy grounds as was the case dating back to World War II. Every effort was made to create a safe and acceptable environment for the Brigade, the Corps and our public while meeting city and state requirements. However, medical conditions and protocols dictate the environment in which we live. Therefore, on to the safe haven of West Point on Dec. 12, and let it ring true that even in the most challenging of times, the spirit and intent of the Brigade of Midshipmen and Corps of Cadets still prevails.”
The game will take place on Dec. 12 at 3 p.m. ET. CBS will broadcast the Army-Navy Game.