West Point will host the 121st Army-Navy game on Dec. 12 instead of it being played in Philadelphia as planned, because attendance limits in the state of Pennsylvania during the coronavirus pandemic would prevent the Brigade of Midshipmen and Corps of Cadets from attending the game, the service academies announced on Friday.
It will be the first time since World War II -- when Annapolis hosted the 1942 game and West Point the 1943 game -- that the rivalry has been played at a home site. The two schools also rotated hosting the first four games from 1890 to 1893.
"History will repeat itself as we stage this cherished tradition on Academy grounds as was the case dating back to World War II," Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk said in a prepared statement. "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. However, medical conditions and protocols dictate the environment in which we live. Therefore, on to the safe haven of West Point on Dec. 12 and let it ring true that even in the most challenging of times, the spirit and intent of the Brigade of Midshipmen and Corps of Cadets still prevails."
Fans probably won't be allowed at Michie Stadium beyond the Corps of Cadets and Brigade of Midshipmen, according to a news release. The game will be televised by CBS Sports at 3 p.m. ET. Navy leads the all-time series with West Point, 61-52-7, and has won 15 of the past 18 games.
Army athletic director Mike Buddie thanked the city of Philadelphia and the Eagles for their planning and "efforts to navigate this historic game in the current COVID-19 climate."
"Of utmost importance to us throughout this entire process was the health, safety and welfare of the Corps of Cadets and the Brigade of Midshipmen," Buddie said. "We are excited about this historic opportunity to host Navy and the Brigade inside the gates of West Point for the first time since 1943."