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Casual Investigation: Could the Government Shutdown Delay Your Georgetown Hoyas' Season Opener?

Will Georgetown be able to play in the Armed Forces Classic if the government isn't turned back on?

Chris Trotman

As you may have noticed, the U.S. government has been shutdown since Tuesday. The reason for the cessation of congressional appropriations depends on your political angle, and so either is a Republican minority's subversion of the democratic process, a Democratic president's power grab at the expense of American liberty, or just Congress being Congress. The effects are being felt across the country, from the closing of national parks to a rapid curtailing of new breweries and distilleries to a the turning off of the National Zoo's Panda Cam. While these highly worthwhile federal programs are have received plenty of press, they have not been deemed "essential" by the powers that be. The shutdown also could claim one victim that has gone unidentified...until now: Georgetown's season opener against Oregon at U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys in South Korea.

Here's our Casual Investigation into this pressing issue.

Step One: The Service Academies

Earlier this week, rumors started flying that the Navy-Air Force college football game and that between BC (they still play football?) and Army would be nixed because of the government shutdown. Those rumors proved to be exactly that, and the Naval Academy later compounded the problem by reportedly tweeting that its game would go on as scheduled, then immediately deleting those tweets and instead saying that no announcement had been made. By mid-day Wednesday, a more complicated story had emerged, one dependent on approval by the Secretary of Defense, the source of revenue for the particular academy's football program, and even the faculty status of the academy's football coaches.

Step Two: Camp Humphreys

What does this all have to do with Georgetown's November 8 season opener? Other than "government," "military," and "intercollegiate sports," it's not totally clear. It would seem that if those games are canceled, and the government remains shut down until November 8, then it'd be pretty hard to justify going forward with the Hoyas-Ducks game. In the meantime, things seem to be up and running at Camp Humphreys. On Tuesday, a post on Camp Humphreys' facebook page noted that the camp was "currently staffed and operating as normal." Well, that sounds encouraging!

Step Three: ESPN

Amid this political whirlwind, ESPN's college basketball reporter Andy Katz paid a visit to the Hilltop Wednesday. His tweets make clear he's thinking not just about the Hoyas' season, but also about the Armed Forces Classic, which his employer will televise:

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p>Locking in Creighton or Marquette over Georgetown could be mistake. Don&#39;t sleep on Hoyas if they get balanced scoring. Will defend/board.</p>&mdash; Andy Katz (@ESPNAndyKatz) <a href="">October 3, 2013</a></blockquote>
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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p>Never gets old seeing John Thompson Jr., at a Georgetown practice. Always offering candid commentary. This Georgetown team has size!</p>&mdash; Andy Katz (@ESPNAndyKatz) <a href="">October 3, 2013</a></blockquote>
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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p>Continue to be impressed with the maturity of Georgetown&#39;s Markel Starks. <a href=";src=hash">#Armed</a> Forces Classic. Nov. 8 Camp Humphreys, South Korea.</p>&mdash; Andy Katz (@ESPNAndyKatz) <a href="">October 2, 2013</a></blockquote>
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Other tweets from around the Intertubes showed Katz to be interviewing JT3 and Nate Lubick, in addition to Starks, in what appeared to be television-friendly sets. So, ESPN seems to be moving ahead as if the game will be played. Good news!

Step Four: The Federal Government

People that know things have been pretty consistent in saying that a government shutdown is bad, but a U.S. default on its debts is terrible. That date could occur anywhere between October 17 and November 1, but in any case before Georgetown's all-important November 8 opener. The same experts seem to think that the federal government's default on its debts would be really, really bad, and not just for college basketball. Of course, default can be avoided if legislation is passed to raise the debt ceiling. It's hard to imagine that any such legislation will raise the debt ceiling but not fund the government, so it seems very likely that, whatever the effect on this weekend's football games, Georgetown's season opener probably is a go. Either that, or we'll all be living in a Cormac McCarthy-esque post-apocalyptic wasteland by then. #DocumentYourCannibalism.

Verdict: The government shutdown probably won't delay your Georgetown Hoyas' season opener. All aboard the delusion train!