The 121st Army-Navy Game will be hosted by the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, this December, marking the first time it has been played at a home site since World War II, the two service academies' athletic directors announced Friday.
The game was supposed to be held in Philadelphia, but it was moved after Pennsylvania placed attendance restrictions on outdoor events due to the coronavirus pandemic. Those limits would not have allowed the entire Corps of Cadets and Brigade of Midshipmen to attend, according to a West Point statement.
Instead, the game will be held at West Point’s Michie Stadium on Dec. 12. There will likely not be fan attendance allowed at the stadium beyond the Corps of Cadets and Brigade of Midshipmen, the statement added.
Midshipmen and cadets, however, will be present and some COVID-19 mitigation measures are expected for those individuals, said West Point spokesman Lt. Col. Christopher Ophardt.
Planning is still underway, but Ophardt told Army Times precautions for these types of events typically include segregation of attendees and COVID-19 tests 48 hours before their arrival.
“We want to thank the City of Philadelphia, the Eagles and all involved in the planning for their efforts to navigate this historic game in the current COVID-19 climate,” said Army athletic director Mike Buddie in the statement. “We are excited about this historic opportunity to host Navy and the Brigade.”
West Point Superintendent Lt. Gen. Darryl A. Williams said hosting the “Army-Navy Game on West Point will be the safest way for the Cadets and Midshipmen to experience” the event.
“Every effort was made to create a safe and acceptable environment for the Brigade, the Corps and our public while meeting city and state requirements," said Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk in the statement. "However, medical conditions and protocols dictate the environment in which we live.”
The last time the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland, hosted the game was in 1942. West Point last hosted in 1943. The two schools also rotated hosting the first four games from 1890-1893.
Navy leads in the series 61 wins versus Army’s 52. The game will be televised by CBS Sports at 3 p.m. EST on Dec. 12.
Kyle Rempfer is an editor and reporter whose investigations have covered combat operations, criminal cases, foreign military assistance and training accidents. Before entering journalism, Kyle served in U.S. Air Force Special Tactics and deployed in 2014 to Paktika Province, Afghanistan, and Baghdad, Iraq.