College hoops set to tip off on carrier
The North Carolina Tar Heels practice on the USS Carl Vinson on Thursday.
November 11th, 2011
06:30 AM ET

College hoops set to tip off on carrier

No water from the sky means there will be college basketball on the water Friday evening in San Diego.

Well, technically not on the water but several stories above it on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson.

Organizers said Thursday that rain moving toward the San Diego area would not come until Saturday, meaning the Quicken Loans Carrier Classic, pitting the North Carolina Tar Heels against the Michigan State Spartans, could be played on a court constructed on the carrier's flight deck.

"Right now, everything is all go for up here on the flight deck," Bob Mazza, an organizer of the event, said in a report on CNN-affliate KFMB-TV.

A 7,000-seat arena has been built on the flight deck for the invited spectators, mostly members of the military. President Obama is also expected to attend. The general public will have to be content with watching on ESPN, beginning at 7 p.m. ET.

Teams practiced on the court Thursday, and Michigan State coach Tom Izzo wasn't concerned about the weather, according to an report.

“We’re playing here. It will be this nice. It’s beautiful," Izzo said of the setting dockside at the San Diego Naval Base.

Just in case Mother Nature has a change of heart, a 2,000-seat backup court was set up in the carrier's hangar deck.

The game is being put on at no cost to taxpayers by the Morale Entertainment Foundation, which "brings the 'Best of America' overseas to lift the spirits of our brave men and women who are fighting for our freedoms downrange," according to its website.

Of course, while the game may be a morale booster for some of the 7,000 who get to watch it in person, the Navy reaps another benefit, too - two-plus hours of prime-time exposure of one of its elite warships.

Mike Whalen of Morale Entertainment told that he wants to make the game an annual Veterans Day event.

Game helps salute military's sacrifice

“Veterans Day, for me, always has been an orphan holiday. You don’t really know what to do. Some of you get a day off. Some of you watch a politician lay a wreath. We’re looking at this to be a little different, a celebration of service,” he is quoted as saying.

It will be the second time for the Vinson to make big news this year. It was the ship from which Osama bin Laden's body was buried at sea after he was killed in a raid by Navy SEALs in Pakistan in May.

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Filed under: Basketball • California • College basketball • Military • U.S. Navy
soundoff (82 Responses)
  1. Hawes


    November 11, 2011 at 7:08 am | Report abuse |
  2. art

    great idea!

    November 11, 2011 at 7:20 am | Report abuse |
  3. john

    This seems like a great idea and great fun! And the cost to the taxpayers is ....?

    November 11, 2011 at 7:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      Nothing... read the article

      November 11, 2011 at 7:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Mosley

      Nothing. Read the story

      November 11, 2011 at 7:43 am | Report abuse |
    • slim

      Cost to taxpayers, whatever it ends up being, if anything, is more than offset by the morale boost it will give to those Sailors, many of whom are just coming from, or who will be leaving for six month deployments to give you the right to make myopic comments on the internet like the one you posted above. I am one of those Sailors Sir, and have been for 18 years...defending your right to free speech. Good day Sir.

      November 11, 2011 at 7:49 am | Report abuse |
    • AL

      Anything dealing with the morale and warfare of our servicemen and woman do not have any cost. What you should be saying is Thanks for keeping my right to speech. I served 24 years and prod of it.

      November 11, 2011 at 8:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Roger

      I actually think this is wonderful. I mean the government waste tax money on so much worst stuff. Long running welfare and STEALING... It is about time that these people get to have some fun. I actually have no issue with concerts, games, etc for our troops. I mean why not. Why does everyone have to complain about stuff so small in the grand scale of things. You want to complain. Complain about congress health care and how they get it for life, Complain about lobbyist fattening the pockets of every senator, Complain about dual and triple pensions where people actually make more in retirement then they did working since they get 80% of 2 or 3 salaries. That is what you need to complain about. This is no different then your yearly company outing at work. So I say the sailors deserve this and should have fun.

      November 11, 2011 at 8:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Read article before you post

      Try reading the article before you post. They addressed the cost issue in the article.

      November 11, 2011 at 8:37 am | Report abuse |
  4. I heart college basketball

    kinda beating swords into plow shares playing a basketball game on a warship. Cool

    November 11, 2011 at 7:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Randy Buist

      nice thought

      November 11, 2011 at 8:04 am | Report abuse |
    • penises_into_anuses

      if a PSU football field was erected

      November 11, 2011 at 8:40 am | Report abuse |
    • beating_penises_into_anuses

      if a manly-man PSU football field was erected

      November 11, 2011 at 8:45 am | Report abuse |
  5. Monk

    Thats pretty tight. Should be one experience for the players to remember

    November 11, 2011 at 7:37 am | Report abuse |
  6. michaelfury

    "It was the ship from which Osama bin Laden's body was buried at sea after he was killed in a raid by Navy SEALs in Pakistan in May"

    November 11, 2011 at 7:40 am | Report abuse |
  7. Gary N (Boone NC)

    I love this and it makes me proud that a team from my home state, UNC, is part of this event.

    November 11, 2011 at 7:52 am | Report abuse |
  8. John

    This Is a great idea. I hope they all enjoy the game.

    November 11, 2011 at 8:10 am | Report abuse |
  9. Runion

    It being called the, "Quicken Loans Carrier Classic," It is probably paid for by Quicken Loans. Even if it was paid by taxes, your paying for a bunch of sailors to watch a basketball game after a hard fount tour, that in some opinions wasn't necessary. But that's besides the point, Happy Veterans Day to those who've helped liberty in the world.

    November 11, 2011 at 8:11 am | Report abuse |
  10. JZ

    "Madness! This is madness!!!"
    "Madness??? This is SPARTAN!!!!"

    November 11, 2011 at 8:15 am | Report abuse |
  11. mustangchef

    MSU blonde bombshell wants to take Phantom F4 to game and land on deck

    November 11, 2011 at 8:15 am | Report abuse |
  12. jhm213

    The game might be paid for but I will bet a dollar to a donut that the cost of moving the president across the country is coming out of our pockets.

    November 11, 2011 at 8:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Johnny

      I agree...this event is a great idea and everything is wonderful about it...other than Obama is going.

      November 11, 2011 at 8:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Chase

      Get over it.

      November 11, 2011 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
    • How'd you come up with that one?

      I'd rather have the President fly to watch a basketball game to with our troops than fly to an aircraft carrier, get out in a flight suit like he didn't dodge the Vietnam war and then declar victory in a war that was just getting started.

      Learn to have an original thought.

      November 11, 2011 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
    • AmericaTheJoke

      Like he doesn't travel across the country all the time. So you're suggesting that no President should ever, or has ever engage(d) in an act of leisure/show his support for the military while doing so?

      November 11, 2011 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Lee

      I disagree with this move by Obama as well. However, from your wording I somehow doubt you would have been so up in arms if this was GWB, which makes your statement lose its effect. Personally, I think this is an aircraft carrier, not a floating basketball court. Can any organization pay the same fee to stage an event on an aircraft carrier? If a taxpayer paid aircraft carrier is going to be made available to the NCAA, then it should be made available to all other organizations as well. Its all or nothing, but the 14th amendment is only used when its convenient i guess.

      November 11, 2011 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
  13. Shawna

    Naturally my first thought was "OMGthinkofthecosttotaxpayers!" But you know what, it's cool even if it was (and it's not). Morale is so incredibly important.

    November 11, 2011 at 8:24 am | Report abuse |
  14. ray

    Hope they don't get a bunch of waves through there or there are gonna be a LOT of airballs!

    November 11, 2011 at 8:31 am | Report abuse |
    • DM

      It takes a really, really bad storm to move an aircraft carrier, it at all..

      November 11, 2011 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
  15. MSU Spartan


    November 11, 2011 at 8:32 am | Report abuse |
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