ANNAPOLIS, Md. - For decades, the Navy-Notre Dame series has been touted as the "longest, continuous intersectional rivalry" in college football, but that 94-year run will come to an end this fall.
The Capital Gazette has learned from multiple sources that the Navy-Notre Dame game will not be played this season. A formal announcement could come Thursday after the Atlantic Coast Conference reveals its 2020 schedule.
Notre Dame was forced to make a decision about the Navy game after the ACC announced changes to its basic schedule format on July 29. That plan called for member schools to play 10 conference contests plus one non-conference game. A mandate was included that non-conference matchups must be held within the state of the member school.
Notre Dame is essentially operating as a member of the ACC this season. The Fighting Irish are playing 10 league games and are eligible for the ACC championship.
To comply, Notre Dame has elected to play Western Michigan at home on Sept. 19 as its lone non-conference opponent. That meant the Navy game, scheduled to be held over Labor Day weekend in Annapolis, had to be scrapped.
It would have been a monumental event as Navy has never hosted Notre Dame in Annapolis in the history of the series. The Fighting Irish and Midshipmen have met every year since 1927.
Contacted Thursday morning, spokesman Scott Strasemeier said the Navy athletic department would have no comment regarding the fate of the Notre Dame game until a formal announcement is made.
According to sources, athletic director Chet Gladchuk has been working to replace Lafayette on the Navy football schedule. That non-conference contest, scheduled for Sept. 12, was canceled when the Patriot League announced it would not play football in 2020.
Navy has a limited number of possibilities for finding an additional opponent this season. Brigham Young University, an independent that currently has an open date on Sept. 12, is a possibility. BYU was originally supposed to play Michigan State on that date, but the Big Ten Conference previously announced it will not allow its member schools to play non-conference contests.
Navy could also look to the Big 12 Conference to find a potential opponent. The Big 12 has adopted a "nine plus one" scheduling format. Member schools will play nine league games with one out-of-conference matchup.
(The Capital Gazette is a publication of the Baltimore Sun Media Group.)
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