There are tons of questions about the Notre Dame game against Navy. Here’s one answer if the game can’t be played in Dublin.
The longer time goes on, the more conflicting opinions and reports about the state of the world during COVID-19 have become. This amounts to one reality, we don’t know what the future holds for the 2020 season. However, given announcements from governments, like Oregon looking to avoid crowded events until the end of September, it’s hard to not acknowledge that the 2020 season will likely not go as planned for Notre Dame or any other collegiate program.
One game that almost certainly won’t go as planned is Notre Dame and Navy’s week 0 match-up, scheduled for Dublin, Ireland. Ireland has a ban on events through the end of August, which makes the logistics difficult, to begin with. The second issue, assuming games start at the end of August as scheduled, is that mass travel is going to be incredibly difficult.
With all of this, it’s worth considering the options that Notre Dame and Navy have going forward. And, if a change does need to be made, the game should be played in Annapolis.
The Notre Dame-Navy rivalry is not one born out of competitiveness. It’s not born out of hatred, rather that of mutual respect. The two play one another annually because of World War II when Notre Dame let Navy use the campus as a training center. This, in turn, allowed the University to survive financially.
So, why does Notre Dame never show Navy the respect it takes to travel the Navy’s Memorial Stadium? Yes, the size of the stadium (capacity of 34,000) is too small. A neutral site draws more revenue from gate money. Playing at neutral sites also allows Notre Dame to maintain its national brand, but this means Navy never hosts the Irish.
Now, in an age of social distancing when we don’t even know if fans will be allowed in the stands, why not show some respect to a rival you maintain out of mutual admiration?
This isn’t to say the game should be played in Annapolis going forward. However, if the game can’t be played in Dublin, and fans won’t be in the stands, the game should be played at Navy, and not a neutral site. Notre Dame shouldn’t try to big-time Navy. It’s the right thing to do.