Navy's AD optimistic Midshipmen will still face Notre Dame in Dublin

Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk said Thursday that he still expects Navy and Notre Dame to open the season on Aug. 29 in Dublin, Ireland, but acknowledged the medical authorities monitoring the coronavirus pandemic will have the final say.

"We're going to play it," Gladchuk told ESPN. "We expect this to pass. We're not naïve. We're five months away from that game happening. There's a lot that could happen in five months. If the economy and the United States are still shut down in five months, we all have significant issues, more so than a game in Dublin."

Both schools have sold out their ticket allotments for the Aer Lingus College Football Classic, Gladchuk said, and two weeks ago, it took only 75 minutes to sell the remaining 6,000 tickets online in Dublin.

"If you weren't at your computer with your finger ready," Gladchuk said, "you missed it."

He said hotels and flights are all still booked, the game is sold out, the sponsorships are set, Dublin's Aviva Stadium is ready and over 30,000 people are expected. Gladchuk estimated 65% of the attendance will come from the United States.

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly was cautiously optimistic and said the season opener is one of many issues athletic director Jack Swarbrick is dealing with right now.

"We'd like to play the game in Ireland," Kelly said. "Whether we can or not that's still a topic that's being discussed. We'll have some alternatives, and whether there's a particular date I can't give you right now, but those discussions are underway."

The Irish and Midshipmen would be making their third visit to Ireland; in 1996, they met in Dublin at Croke Park for the first time, with the Irish defeating Navy 54-27, and then the Irish defeated Navy 50-10 at Aviva Stadium in 2012.

"The game is important, but nothing will supersede the medical issues and the direction we get from the medical authorities," Gladchuk said. "As ambitious as we are, it's got to be cleared and travel has to be cleared and international travel has to be cleared for that to be realistic."