The University of Notre Dame announced on Tuesday morning that they will not be playing their home opener against Navy in Dublin, and instead will play against the Midshipmen in Annapolis, MD. This will be the first time that Notre Dame plays in Annapolis.
The decision comes after Notre Dame and Navy officials met with health consultants and Irish officials about what issues may come about from continuing with the game as planned. The university says the game will likely be played Labor Day weekend but more details are to come.
Below is the full release from Notre Dame:
Following extensive consultation with the Irish government, medical authorities and the administrative staffs at Navy and Notre Dame, the football game scheduled for Aug. 29 between the two institutions will not be played at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The two teams plan to open the season in Annapolis, Maryland, at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. The 94th-consecutive game of the longest-continuous-intersectional rivalry in the country will likely be played Labor Day weekend (Saturday or Sunday) and be televised nationally by ESPN or ABC.
“Our student-athletes have had great experiences competing in Ireland and are very disappointed not to be returning to Dublin in 2020,” said Jack Swarbrick, Vice President and James E. Rohr Director of Athletics at Notre Dame. “The change of venue has been a very difficult decision for our colleagues at the Naval Academy, but we are in full support of their choice. We are also grateful for everything our partners in Ireland have done to make this a smooth transition. We look forward to going back to Ireland for a game in the not too distant future.”
“We are obviously disappointed not to be traveling to Ireland this August,” said Naval Academy Director of Athletics Chet Gladchuk. “But, as expected, our priority must be ensuring the health and safety of all involved. I am expecting 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 that govern college football at large. Once we have a definitive plan in place, we will announce the specifics pertaining to the game.”
“College football is one of the greatest spectacles in world sport and we had been thoroughly looking forward to welcoming Navy and Notre Dame here this summer for the first game of the Aer Lingus College Football Classic Series,” said Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar.
“Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond our control, that is now not possible, but we hope to see both universities return to Aviva Stadium in the coming years. I want to personally thank both Chet Gladchuk and Jack Swarbrick for their efforts to bring the game to Ireland and we hope to welcome both teams back in the near future”
The previous installment of the storied rivalry game at Aviva Stadium in 2012 saw more than 35,000 fans travel from the United States. In 2020, around 40,000 people from the U.S. were expected to attend the sold-out game.
Both programs will continue to work closely with the event organizers to plan for a return to Ireland in the coming years. Information on ticket refunds will be forthcoming.
The scheduled meeting in Annapolis will mark the first time Notre Dame visits Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in the 94-year span of the rivalry. Each prior meeting hosted by Navy has been played at a neutral site. Overall, Notre Dame owns a *79-13-1 record over the Midshipmen.