Source: Ballpark will host football game

Updated: July 18, 2009, 12:07 AM ET
By Pat Forde | ESPN.com

A source close to the situation confirmed to ESPN.com Friday that Army and Notre Dame will play the first football game at the new Yankee Stadium in 2010.

Army issued a release Friday afternoon touting a "major college football announcement" Monday at the stadium. The announcement will be a game against the Fighting Irish, said the source, renewing a once-vibrant New York City tradition.

Notre Dame senior associate athletic director John Heisler could not confirm that the game is a go but did not dispute it, either.

"We've talked for some time about our interest in playing in Yankee Stadium, and Yankee Stadium has expressed an interesting in having us play there," Heisler said. "We're very close to having something happen."

Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick told The Associated Press the negotiations were far along but would not acknowledge a completed deal. He said such a matchup would be a home game for the Fighting Irish, meaning it would be broadcast on NBC.

"There are still things to be resolved," Swarbrick said.

Notre Dame still has two dates not scheduled for next year, including one home game.

"I think it'd be cool. But the way that park's playing, I don't know if it can hold a 100-yard football field," said Chicago Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija, a former star wide receiver for the Fighting Irish.

The Hudson Valley-based Times Herald-Record, citing unidentified Army sources, said Friday that Army also will play games at Yankee Stadium in the 2011, 2012 and 2013 seasons. Rutgers and possibly Syracuse could be involved in future games at the stadium, a person familiar with the scheduling told the AP on condition of anonymity.

"I think it's great. I'm excited to watch it -- as long as they don't do it in September," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said before Friday night's game against Detroit.

Although the new ballpark is set up primarily for baseball, a football field will be set up with one set of goalposts near the Yankees dugout on the first-base side and the other set in left field.

Army and Notre Dame played each other at Yankee Stadium annually from 1925 to 1946, with one of the two schools being ranked No. 1 for each of the last four meetings at the famed baseball park. The most famous of those games probably was the 0-0 tie in 1946, when Army was ranked No. 1 and Notre Dame No. 2. The two teams last met at Yankee Stadium in 1969.

"I know there's a big East Coast following for Notre Dame," Samardzija said before the Cubs' game at Washington. "I think it's good for Notre Dame, being countrywide, to play as many different spots as possible. … The more they can travel, the better it is for them."

"I'd like to see them go overseas like they used to do. They used to go to Dublin and places like that. They used to play at the old Polo Grounds, so I think it'll be cool. That's the cool thing about going to Notre Dame -- you never know what'll happen, who or where you'll play. It'll be exciting."

Milwaukee Brewers infielder Craig Counsell, a Notre Dame alum, also liked the idea.

"I know that was a tradition, but I don't really remember it. It's a long time ago. But I think anytime you go into those venues, it's kind of cool," Counsell said. "I thought when they played hockey in Wrigley Field, that was a little different and definitely cool."

Pat Forde is a senior writer for ESPN.com. The Associated Press contributed to this story.