All games cancelled
Air Force announced Saturday that it would cancel all athletic events as a result of the government shutdown. The ruling was immediately effective and wiped out Saturday’s scheduled home men’s basketball game against Fresno State and the home hockey game against Sacred Heart.
Academy teams were scattered around the country this weekend, with swimming teams in Las Vegas, rifle in Fort Worth, Texas, and women’s basketball in Fresno, Calif.
None will be allowed to complete. As of Saturday night, coaches were proceeding with the understanding that they can’t even practice until the shutdown ends.
“In the event a solution is reached, the academy will work to reschedule as many missed events as possible,” the academy said in a statement.
Coaches were informed of the decision prior to 8 a.m. Saturday, with news then trickling to players via the ESPN news ticker, social media and texts.
The men’s basketball team gathered for pregame activities in hopes that the game would continue as normal, and visiting Fresno State held its morning meal at the Colorado Springs Marriott and went through its final preparatory walk-through before realizing a reprieve wasn’t on the way.
The hockey team held out hope for a resolution in Washington through 3 p.m. MT before officially pulling the plug on the evening game.
Now, the teams wait.
Air Force athletic officials knew this might be a possibility in the days leading up to the shutdown, but had hoped to gain exempt status for enough support staff to keep events going. They said it would be an “11th-hour decision.”
At issue is the designation of essential and nonessential employees and the use of government money, the stream of which has been shut off. Trainers, some coaches and much of the athletic support staff cannot work during a shutdown.