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Game On! Navy & Air Force Play Despite Shutdown

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Rochelle Ritchie joined WJZ Eyewitness News in June 2012. Prio...
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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Despite a government shutdown, the highly anticipated game between Navy and Air Force went on as scheduled after the Department of Defense gave the go-ahead to play.

Rochelle Ritchie has more on reaction to the shutdown and how it’s affecting Annapolis, as well as the Academy.

Funding for the game came from an insurer to the military, agreeing to pay $230,000 for Air Force’s team to make it to Annapolis.

There were cheers at the United States Naval Academy as the Midshipmen took on the Falcons in a highly anticipated game.

“We bring a lot of good to a lot of things, people down that haven’t been going to work or anything,” said David James.

But the game was almost a no go after the government shutdown.

“This whole federal shutdown is ludicrous,” said Rosalie Moyer.

All Navy sports were left in limbo on Oct. 1, but some remained confident the game would go on as scheduled.

“I ran into a former governor and he said, `I guarantee 110% that game is going to be played, just based on the economics of it,’” said Wes Sims.

Despite the game still going on, there are some services still not available because of the shutdown. For instance, Midshipmen are unable to check out books at the library and attend some labs, such as chemistry, physics and engineering. There’s still no paycheck for federal employees.

“Honestly, I think it’s slightly perverse, in my opinion. We have the professors and civilian staff at the Academy. They’re not working but somehow there’s money available for a game. The priorities seem out of whack,” said Mike “Mick” Henson.

The game does have its economic benefits for local businesses, who are hoping the increased visitation will make up for money lost since the shutdown.

“It’s hurt our lunch business, our late business. Obviously if people aren’t getting paid, going out and entertaining goes first,” said Travis Coleman.

With the game going forward, money lost could be made up substantially.

“We do great business after Navy games and beating Air Force is a big one, so we’ll see in a couple of hours how much it did affect us,” Coleman said.

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