The Naval Academy has decided to pass up Robert F. Kennedy Stadium and will play the Air Force Academy in football at Annapolis Oct. 8, it was learned yesterday.
J.O. (Bo) Coppedge, director of atheletics, said yesterday that the Mids are considering a bid to play the 1978 Notre Dame game at Giant's Stadium in the Hackensack, N.J., Meadowlands. Army announced yesterday it has switched two of this fall's home games, Notres Dame and Pittsburgh, from West Point's Michie Stadium to Meadowlands.
"The last Air Force game in Washington (in 1975) was not satisfactory from a financial standpoint," Coppedge said. "The first game we played at RFK Stadium in 1970 did very well. We drew 46,414 people - the largest crowd ever to see a college football game in Washington. But in 1975 we dropped to 30,441, despite some great help by many Washington civic organizations and other interested people.
"We paid 12 per cent rent for the stadium. Then there was the expense of transporting the brigade of midshipmen to Washington. The buses charged us $1.50 a mile and I understand that charge has been increased.
"We can get 30,000 people in our stadium in Annapolis for the Air Force game without added expense."
Bob Sigholtz, manager of RFK Stadium, expressed disappointment at Navy's decision.
"We were willing to lower the rent this year," Sigholtz said. "Everything was negotiable. I told Coppedge that we would match whatever he made on the Air Force game at Annapolis. In other words, he would have a guarantee and we would share whether was left. We think the appearance of the Navy football team here is an addition to the city and it utilizes our stadium. I'm very disappointed that Navy won't play here this fall."
As for the Meadowlands offer, Coppedge said that David A! (Sonny) Werblin. New Jersey Sports authority chairman, had made a bid for the 1978 Navy-Notre Dame game. It also is know that Buffalo would like to land the game, which was played in Cleveland last fall and drew more than 80,000 people.
"Cleveland would like to have the game again in 1978," Coppedge said. "They were very good to us there and it was financially rewarding for Navy. We have several options for that 1978 Notre Dame game and perhaps some others."