Navy and Notre Dame will not be opening the 2020 college football season in Ireland because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The teams announced Tuesday morning that the Aug. 29 game had been moved from Dublin to Annapolis. The game will be played at Navy’s home football stadium instead of the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.
“Our student-athletes have had great experiences competing in Ireland and are very disappointed not to be returning to Dublin in 2020,” Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said. “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.”
The game, which was set to be played in “Week 0” on the weekend before Labor Day, will now be moved to either the Saturday or Sunday of Labor Day weekend in Week 1. It will be televised by either ESPN or ABC.
“We are obviously disappointed not to be traveling to Ireland this August,” Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk said. “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.”
The coronavirus had put the game’s location in doubt for months, though Notre Dame and Navy officials had both been publicly optimistic about the game being able to be played as scheduled. Per the release, they will “work closely” with officials in Ireland to reschedule.
Notre Dame and Navy last played in Ireland in 2012 when the Irish beat Navy 50-10. Since then, two games have been held in the country. Penn State beat UCF in 2014 and Georgia Tech beat Boston College in 2016.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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