Offers have been made to pay for Air Force travel if government shutdown continues

Otto Kitsinger III

There have been offers made to pay for Air Force's football team to travel to play at Navy on Saturday, but it is up in the air if these private funds can be used to pay for the Falcons travel.

Saturday's scheduled contest between Air Force and Navy is still up in the air due to the government shutdown, but there have been offers coming in to help Air Force fly cross-country to take on rival Navy. There has already been discussions about using conference funds, television money and ticket sales to fly Air Force to Annapolis, Md., but as of now that is still a 50/50 proposition.

The latest report of helping the Cadets comes from private funding, and now an ESPN report spoke to Defense Department spokesperson Bill Urban about other private sources coming forward. However, it seems that there is some red tape involved in using private funds to foot the bill for a government trip:

Urban said at least a couple of offers have been made to pay for the service academy football teams' travel costs to games if the government shutdown doesn't end before Saturday, but he declined to identify the potential donors.

"There are a lot of questions up in the air," Urban said. "It's a complicated question. We're currently investigating whether non-appropriated funds could be given to a program to travel for an athletic competition. Currently, a legal review is underway. The service academy's football games for this weekend have not been canceled as we speak."

It would be a real shame if the legal review came back and said that non-appropriated funds could not be used to send Air Force to play football this Saturday. The only other option to play this game is for the government shutdown to end by this weekend, and probably even earlier since there is a scheduled noon ET press conference on Thursday to decide the fate of the game.

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