Notre Dame and Navy will face off to start their campus football season.
It will not be in Ireland.
Schools announce, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the much-awaited season opener will not be played at Aviva Stadium in Dublin.
Both teams plan to open the season in Annapolis, Maryland, at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. The 94th consecutive game of the country’s longest intersection competition is likely to be played on Labor Day weekend (Saturday or Sunday) and broadcast nationally by ESPN or ABC.
“Our students have great experience competing in Ireland and are very disappointed not to return to Dublin in 2020,” Notre Dame’s athletic director Jack Swarbrick said in a statement. “Changing places is a very difficult decision for our colleagues at the Naval Academy, but we fully support their choice. We are also grateful for all that our partners in Ireland have done to make this smooth transition. We hope to return to Ireland for the match in the not too distant future. “
The previous installment of a multilevel competition match at Aviva Stadium in 2012 saw more than 35,000 fans traveling from the United States. By 2020, around 40,000 people from the US are expected to attend sold-out matches.
“We are clearly disappointed not to travel to Ireland this August,” Naval Academy Athletics Director Chet Gladchuk said. “But, as expected, our priority must be to ensure the health and safety of all involved. I hope that we will still be able to play Notre Dame as our season opener, but there is still much to be determined by health officials and those who manage campus football in general. Once we have a definite plan, we will announce specifics related to the game. “
According to the release, the two programs will continue to work to plan a return to Ireland in the coming years.
The meeting scheduled in Annapolis will mark the first time Notre Dame visited the Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in the span of 94 years of competition. Every previous meeting organized by the Navy has been played on a neutral site. Overall, Notre Dame has a 79-13-1 record (including two wins in the regular season which was then emptied based on a discretionary NCAA penalty) over the Midshipmen.
Mark Heim is a sports reporter for The Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @Mark_Heim.
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