The government shutdown might affect college football this weekend.
A possibility exists that Air Force at Navy on Saturday, a game planned for national TV coverage on CBS (11:30 a.m. ET), could be postponed. The game in Annapolis, Md., also is sold out.
Naval Academy officials released a statement Tuesday confirming the Department of Defense has suspended all intercollegiate athletic contests at service academies while the government is in shutdown mode.
Thursday appears to be the drop-dead date to make a call on whether the football game would be played, a person with knowledge of the decision process told USA TODAY Sports. That person also said if the shutdown lasted through the weekend the game likely would be postponed. Navy later confirmed that notification about the status of the Air Force game would be released prior to noon ET on Thursday.
Troy Garnhart, an associate athletics director for Air Force, told The (Annapolis) Capital newspaper that upper-class cadets at Air Force are considered military personnel, which means they could be subject to travel restrictions under the shutdown.
If a postponement happens, both teams have room at the end of the season. Navy is off from Nov. 22 until Dec. 14, when it plays Army. Air Force concludes its season Nov. 30. The Mountain West is debuting a conference championship game this year. It is scheduled for the following week, but Air Force already is 0-4 in the league.
A call to Army about its Saturday game at Boston College was not immediately returned; neither were calls to BC.
Navy is 2-1 after a loss last week at Western Kentucky. Air Force is 1-4 and on a four-game losing streak that is the Falcons' longest since a four-game slide to end the 2006 season.
Army goes into Saturday's game at Boston College at 2-3, coming off a win against Louisiana Tech at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.
One even already affected is Air Force football coach Troy Calhoun's weekly news conference.
In a email Tuesday morning, Garnhart wrote: "Due to the government shutdown today's press conference with head football coach Troy Calhoun and selected football players is cancelled. Should the government shutdown end we will look at rescheduling. There will be no media availability with coach Calhoun or players today."
Contributing: Dan Wolken