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Federal Government Shutdown And College Sports: The Best Press Release Ever

As we drink our morning coffee and watch President Obama talk about how avoidable the federal government shutdown is and hear Republicans counter with their arguments, it's important to note that there have actually been several government shutdowns over the last few decades.

So while this is more than a small nuisance to many people, this is not uncharted territory. As my friend Tony pointed out, this is just the first one in the age of Twitter, where we can all gather and feed off of each other's sarcasm and fretting.

So as long as overall we aren't at "Threat Level Midnight" yet, I'm not going to sweat the stuff I can't control. Hell, I might even curse on air this week, assuming the FCC is on hiatus!

There is one effect from the shutdown, though, that lands on my lawn -- the service academies and their collegiate sports.

Now, we were spared the potential biggest casualty of the government's gridlock in the last several hours as we learned that the Air Force-Navy football game this weekend will indeed go on. It had appeared up until yesterday that the game would be at the very least postponed, if not cancelled altogether.

Either of those outcomes would have been a disaster on every level.

(Yes, I'm calling the cancellation of a sporting event a "disaster," when there's probably people who aren't getting social security checks to pay for their food. I'm a sports talk show host, and frankly, a little selfish. Hey, if you're disgusted with me now, wait until I do an entire segment made of George Carlin's seven dirty words on my radio show today. Yeah, that's right, suck it, FCC!)

The potential revenue loss for the Naval Academy, when combining the ticket sales (The game is sold out.), television revenue (The game is slated to be carried on CBS Sports TV.), and ancillary things like merchandise and concessions, would have been upwards of $4 million. And this doesn't even factor in the inconvenience and anger over canceling all of the accompanying events surrounding the game, including the 50 year reunion of the 1963 Navy team that went to the Cotton Bowl, led by Heisman Trophy winner Roger Staubach.

However, not every government associated educational institution will be so lucky this weekend. The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy had a men's soccer game scheduled yesterday with Manhattanville College, which is located in Purchase, NY, just 20 miles from the Bronx.

As is custom when there's any news regarding a collegiate sporting event, the Sports Information Director for the affected schools issues a press release to make the announcement. Normally, my first question in seeing a press release regarding a Manhattanville-USMMA soccer game would be "Dear God, what poor media member in the New York City area has the Manhattanville soccer beat?"

However, this particular press release has me asking an entirely different question altogether, two questions actually -- "Who is Steve Sheridan and how did he get to be so awesome?"

 

The answer to the first question is that Sheridan is the SID for Manhattanville, the man responsible for issuing the aforementioned press release. As for how he got to be so awesome, without getting a sit-down interview with him, I may never find out. I just know that when it came time to communicate the cancellation of the Manhattanville-USMMA men's soccer game, this is what he sent out :

PURCHASE, N.Y. - Due to the U.S. government's inability to do things that most Americans do on a monthly basis - namely, paying their bills on time - Wednesday's scheduled men's soccer match between Manhattanville and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy has been postponed.

While a non-conference soccer game in Westchester County might have been slightly behind the Affordable Care Act when it came to rationale behind the political maneuverings, the government shutdown in Washington has affected all service academies and has rendered them unable to engage in intercollegiate competition, including Army, Navy, Air Force and, yes, Merchant Marine.

"The Queen and Parliament would never have allowed this to happen back home in England," head men's soccer coach and British native Gregg Miller may have said to himself. "They love their football too much to cancel a game over health care."

If the government decides to become operational again before the end of October, the teams will attempt to reschedule the match for a later date, although that seems unlikely thanks to packed conference schedules for both teams and the apparent inability of Congress to get anything done in a prompt manner.

Manhattanville will now return to action on Saturday afternoon, as the Valiants kick off Freedom Conference play with a matchup against DeSales at 5 p.m. at GoValiants.com Field. Fans can watch the live video stream on GoValiants.TV beginning at approximately 4:50 p.m.

Mocking the government for their excessive borrowing? Check. Sarcastic hat tip to the Affordable Care Act? Check. Fabricated quote that is worded in such a way that it doesn't get anyone in trouble? Check.

Indeed, I don't know anything about Steve Sheridan, I just know his press releases need a bigger stage.

Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 Yahoo! Sports Radio from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and nationally on the Yahoo! Sports Radio network Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon CST. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.


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