It’s official, college basketball powers North Carolina and Michigan State will play a game on the deck of an aircraft carrier. A matchup that has been rumored for months has finally been agreed to and given final approval, as the two teams will face each other on the flight deck of the USS Carl Vinson on November 11, 2011, Veterans Day. The Carrier Classic will be the first college basketball game ever on an active flat top.
The game will be played in San Diego Bay without cost to the taxpayers and promises to present no operational issues that would affect the Navy. The Carl Vinson recently attracted worldwide attention when it was used to bury Osama Bin Laden at sea after he was killed in an assault by Navy SEALs.
There are apparently a number of contingency plans if it happens to rain on the day of the game, or if the Carl Vinson is deployed into service in an emergency. Mike Whalen, director of the Morale Entertainment Foundation says that if the flight deck was unavailable (due to weather conditions) the game could be played on the hangar deck. If the carrier has to head to sea, the USS Midway (which is now a museum) could be used instead.
Athletic directors from both schools praised the event saying it was a chance to give back to those who serve our country.
No tickets will be available to the public, almost all will go to military personnel, while each school will get 750. Michael Jordan (UNC) and Magic Johnson (Michigan State) are expected to be honorary team captains and ESPN will air the game.