The Air Force will compete for the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy by playing just two football games this fall – against the Navy and the Army – and Midshipmen coach Ken Niumatalolo said it is unfair and accuses Pentagon officials of making ” this a military deal, ‘before apologizing later.
Niumatalolo’s complaint is that Navy (11 games) and Army (12) will be playing full schedules this fall, but the Air Force could walk away with the prize if it wins the two games. The Falcons play in the Mountain West Conference, which has postponed the football season.
“Where else in the country would you play for something of value and everyone’s schedules aren’t the same?” Niumatalolo told reporters on Monday. “This is the number 1 we fight for every year – the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy. We play a full schedule. You only let the Air Force play two games? I don’t think those people care.
“… This is above us. These are the guys at the Pentagon making decisions. I have no idea where they get their data from. They didn’t get it from me, so they don’t get football data. Like I said,” no one asked me. “
Niumatalolo, who said he was “just frustrated and letting my emotions get the best of me,” later apologized for his comments.
“I shouldn’t have said some of the things I said and I’m sorry I did,” says Niumatalolo told the Capital Gazette on Monday evening. “The Pentagon has nothing to do with this and it was wrong of me to suggest that this was the case… I sometimes get myself into trouble speaking my opinion. This was one case where I should have kept my thoughts to myself. “
The Air Force will host the Navy on October 3, and the Falcons will play against the Army on November 7. The army will take on the navy on December 12.
The Navy won the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy in 2019 after the military claimed it in consecutive years, ending a 21-year drought. The Air Force won the most recent Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy in 2016.
Athletic Director Chet Gladchuk of the Naval Academy told the Baltimore Sun that superintendents from all three service academies agreed to go ahead with the plan, but that didn’t stop Niumatalolo from criticizing the decision.
‘I have no idea who made those decisions. Probably guys [in the Pentagon] “those should make decisions on matters more important than football,” Niumatalolo said ahead of his apology. “I wish they would be concerned about things other than football and that we would have to make football decisions. [athletic directors] and head coaches.
“To me, those guys who make decisions have never played football in their life. They don’t know what physical football is. We don’t play croquet or anything. Football is a difficult physical game. People have made decisions about this that have no idea what they are doing. or talk about sports They made this a military deal It’s not a military deal.
‘I’ve finished my opinion. I’m sure I’ll be reprimanded. I’m just the head soccer coach, but that’s how I honestly feel. It is not right.’
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