A report by the U.S. General Accounting Office shows that the Army-Navy '83 Foundation, which sponsored last year's football game in the Rose Bowl, is $2.5 million in debt, is unlikely to be able to pay its debts, owes $581,000 to the academies and has an outstanding $1.1 million bank loan for which the Naval Academy posted $550,000 collateral.
The GAO report said the decision to move the game from Philadelphia, where it is being played again this year, to the West Coast cost the service academies about $1.4 million. Although the final figures are not yet in, the GAO said the academies will share as little as $300,000 in profit from last year's game, compared with a $1.7 million profit from 1982.
The foundation, headed by Pasadena, Calif., attorney Robert Finch, a secretary of Health, Education and Welfare in the Nixon administration, has persuaded the former president to deliver a foreign policy address in Washington on Nov. 14 to help pay the foundation's bills.
Finch said other fund-raising efforts have been hampered by questions raised by Sen. William Proxmire (D-Wis.), who asked the GAO last December to find out if tax money had been used to fly 9,000 cadets and midshipmen to Pasadena for the game. Finch said he "bitterly resented" Proxmire's announcement this week that he had bestowed his monthly "Golden Fleece" award on the Defense Department for allowing the game to be moved, thereby "clipping the taxpayers."
"It's not a case of somebody running off with the money," Finch insisted. "We gave it our best shot, but we fell short."
Army and Navy have signed a contract to play their next five games in Philadelphia.
"I've been in constant contact with the corporation and they feel they should be able to pay off the loan (for which Navy put up its TV monies as collateral) by Dec. 1," Capt. Bo Coppedge, Navy's athletic director, said, adding, "We haven't collected any money yet.
"I don't know what will happen about the money, but I've long since stopped worrying about it."