The government shutdown that is upon the country has many in Washington wondering: what do we do now? However, this congressional budget stalemate has trickled into many areas of our country that lie outside of Washington, DC. The shutdown has had an especially big impact on all service academies’ athletic programs across the country. These student athletes and coaches have been in limbo since the announcement of the shutdown.
At first, all athletics employees were sent home and put on leave. The Air Force Academy golf team has already cancelled a tournament since the shutdown and apparently the decision wasn’t taken very well by the people involved. What is making situations like this so difficult is that coaches of these schools are essentially government employees, leaving them no option but to have little to no communication with their players. That being said, Air Force golf has not been the only ones affected. Cross country meets, soccer games and tennis matches have been cancelled or rescheduled at all three service academies, leaving these young people forbidden from doing what they love.
The interesting thing is that all three schools’ football teams still competed over the weekend. Initially, all athletic functions were to be cancelled due to the shut down. However, the 3 schools decided to challenge the decision, which was then reviewed by the secretary of defense. The secretary of defense decided that the games could continue, as long as no government funds were spent on the day. Even so, many have speculated that this decision was solely a monetary decision. Navy’s athletic director, Chet Gladchuck, certainly provided some evidence for this thought with his comments that were given to CBS New York. Gladchuck was quoted saying that cancelling a game would be “devastating to the Navy athletic program budget.” While these football teams were still given the opportunity to compete and do what they love, others like Air Force golf were forced to cancel or wait to have the opportunity to do the exact same.
The expectancy violations theory has been rampant this entire situation as every team has been affected in some way, positive or negatively. The expectations of players and coaches have not been met due to issues that are outside of their control, essentially invading their personal lives and causing a change in their daily routine. With that being said, it just doesn’t seem fair. In the end, it all seems about “par” for what has been going on in Washington as of late.