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Army-Navy media luncheon ends up being a one-sided affair

Navy football coach Ken Niumatalolo.
Navy football coach Ken Niumatalolo. (Tommy Gilligan, USA Today Sports)

The Army-Navy Media Luncheon is a polite affair during which representatives of both the U.S. Naval Academy and the U.S. Military Academy get together each year to preview the upcoming football showdown and thank their hosts and sponsors.

This year's Army-Navy Classic (presented by USAA) will be Dec. 13 at M&T Bank Stadium and that also was the site of the luncheon Wednesday. But the representation was as one-sided as the football rivalry has been over the past 12 years.

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Army coach Jeff Monken, athletic director Boo Corrigan and the team captains were unable to get off the ground in New York because of weather problems, leaving the stage almost entirely to Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk, coach Ken Niumatalolo and captains Parrish Gaines and Noah Copeland.

The Army contingent had to do its interviews by conference call, which caused no great inconvenience to the local and national media covering the event, but that didn't allow Monken and Corrigan to escape some criticism for their inability to overcome the logistical problem.

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Gladchuk opened his remarks by apologizing to the representatives of the Ravens, the Mayor's office and USAA for the absence of Army, though the Black Knights were represented by the school's executive athletic director Bob Baretta and assistant athletic director for communications, Ryan Yanoshak.

The initial apology was perfunctory and only hinted that Gladchuk was unhappy with the situation, but he followed that up with a comment that made his disappointment pretty clear.

"We have a saying at the Naval Academy ... 'No excuses, nobody cares,'" he said. "So, at a minimum, I feel I have to apologize for the other contingent not being here."

Baretta did take the podium and also apologized for the inability of Army to get its entire group to the luncheon, but he spent the rest of his time thanking everyone in attendance and praising the Naval Academy for its great football success.

"I apologize on behalf of Boo and Jeff,'' he said. "No disrespect was meant in any form."

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