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COVID has devastated Navy athletics’ finances. This year, ‘we need to have fans.’

Navy will be hosting service academy rival Air Force in one of the biggest football games of the season on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States.

Navy athletic officials already have settled on an underlying theme for the day: Honoring all the alumni from the Air Force Academy and Naval Academy who perished on 9/11.

“Unfortunately, both institutions have a number of alums that were victims of that tragedy,” Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk said. “Everything surrounding the Navy-Air Force football game will be about paying tribute to families of those alumni that were lost on that tragic day.