Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo blasts Pentagon decision to let Air Force play football

Navy chief soccer coach Ken Niumatalolo today devastated the Pentagon for allowing the Air Force Academy to play two games in the Commander-in-Chief’s Cup series, despite the Mountain West Conference delaying the rest of the soccer season.

“I’m sure I’ll be reprimanded,” Niumatalolo said during his weekly media session. “I’m just the head football coach, but I honestly feel that way. It’s not right.”

Niumatalo, a Honolulu native and former quarterback and assistant coach at the University of Hawaii, joked that if he continued to pursue the topic, “My next interview might be from Hawaii.”

Mountain West’s board of directors announced on August 10 that its members would postpone the fall 2020 season by saying, “The fall sports affected by today’s decision include men’s and women’s cross country, soccer, women’s soccer and women’s volleyball (except for the unique circumstances of the military service academies). “

But it wasn’t until Monday, when the Air Force released its schedule with an October 3 game with Navy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and a November game at Army-West Point, that it was publicly confirmed that the games would be played. These are the only two games the Falcons will play.

Navy, which competes in the American Athletic Conference and defends the trophy it won last year, has an 11-game schedule. Leger, an independent, plays 12.

Chet Gladchuk, the Navy’s athletic director, told the Annapolis Capital Gazette, “The question mark has always been the Air Force and whether or not they would deploy a team. There was a question within their leadership whether it was appropriate to practice off-season to that extent to play two games. “

Niumatalolo said, “Where else in the country would you play for something of value and everyone’s schedules aren’t the same? This is the No. 1 we fight for every year, the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy. We play a full schedule. . Did you only let Air Force play two games? I don’t think those people (in the Pentagon) care. “

Niumatalolo said, “I have no idea who made those decisions. Probably guys who would have to make decisions about more important things than football … They made this a military deal. It’s not a military deal. “