“Where else in the country would you play for something of value and everybody’s schedules are not the same?” Niumatalolo said, according to the Capital Gazette. “This is the No. 1 thing we fight for every year — the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy. We’re playing a full schedule. You got Air Force playing just two games? I don’t think those people care.
“[Athletic Director] Chet [Gladchuk] and I talked, but this is above us. This is guys at the Pentagon making decisions. I have no idea where they’re getting their data from. They didn’t get it from me, so they’re not getting any football data. Like I said, nobody asked me.”
The Midshipmen have a full slate of 11 games scheduled, while Air Force only has games against Navy and Army because of rescheduling forced by the coronavirus pandemic. The Mountain West Conference postponed its season, and Air Force is a member institution. Army also has a full slate of games, though this week’s game against BYU was postponed because of an outbreak within the Cougars’ program.
Niumatalolo previously voiced his displeasure with a scenario in which one of the schools would have months to practice and prepare for Navy while the Mids play other teams and take physical punishment on a weekly basis. Air Force has Navy scheduled for a home game Oct. 3 and Army for a road game Nov. 7.
The announcement was made Monday that the Commander-in-Chief’s series will continue in 2020.
“Guys that have no idea what is going on with the programs,” Niumatalolo said, according to the Capital Gazette. “Whenever you have guys at the Pentagon making football decisions, which to me is crazy.”
Niumatalolo apologized on Monday night in a statement to the Capital Gazette.
“I should not have said some of the stuff I said and I’m sorry I did,” Niumatalolo said. “The Pentagon has nothing to do with this and it was wrong of me to suggest that was the case. I was just frustrated and let my emotions get the best of me.
“The Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy is our program’s No. 1 goal every year and we put our heart and soul into getting it back last year.”
Navy is off to a rough start after losing, 55-3, to BYU in the season opener Sept. 7. Navy altered its shortened offseason practices to be extra cautious against the spread of the coronavirus and attempted to eliminate most face-to-face interactions. That included tackling dummies and blocking pads instead of live contact. The Midshipmen were woefully unprepared to face BYU and Niumatalolo took responsibility for making the decision about the way they practiced. The team reversed course and resumed normal practices this week after testing was increased to three times a week per American Athletic Conference rules. Navy is set to play at Tulane on Saturday.