Baltimore has shot at Army-Navy game in '02

Hotel-room crunch forces switch from Philadelphia

College Football

May 20, 2001|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

The door has opened for a possible return of the Army-Navy classic to Baltimore in 2002.

Respective athletic directors Jack Lengyel of Navy and Rick Greenspan of Army have announced that the game will not be played in Philadelphia and will be moved because of a scheduling conflict.

The 2002 game was to have been the final game played under the existing long-term contract with Philadelphia.

However, the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau scheduled a major medical convention for the same weekend as the Army-Navy game. Since that event requires use of approximately 8,000 of the city's 10,000 hotel rooms, there will be inadequate hotel space remaining for Army and Navy, who require 5,000 rooms for fans, officials and the teams.

In exchange for the shift of the 2002 game, the academies agreed to a one-year contract that will send the 2003 game to Philadelphia in the Eagles' new playing facility.

Academy officials are negotiating with several sites for the 2002 game, including PSINet Stadium, which staged a highly successful show last December.

"In light of recent developments regarding hotel availability, we did not feel that holding this great game in Philadelphia during the first weekend in December 2002, would provide the cadets, midshipmen, fans, families and school officials with a most positive experience," Greenspan said.

Tom Muldoon, the head of Philadelphia's convention bureau, said CBS, which televises the game, vetoed tourism officials' efforts to move the game from Dec. 7, 2002, to another date.

He said the schools rejected proposals to put fans up in outlying hotels and shuttle them to the game, as the city did with those attending the 2000 Republican Convention last summer.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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