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. Red Team

    "What would have been a game winning three pointed was ruined when a naval aviator flew low enough over the court to disrupt the flight of the ball with his jet wash. No comment from the Department Of The Navy if the pilot was Tarheel's fan, in unrelated news the entire crew of the USS Vinson won a multi-million dollar sports book bet that a flyby would prevent a three pointer from winning the game. Vegas is reeling from what should have been a suckers bet. Again no comment from the Navy."

    November 11, 2011 at 8:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Haha

      Haha, that's pretty good

      November 11, 2011 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      awesome dude. one of the best comments i have ever red. EVER

      November 11, 2011 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
    • CV-41

      Half Time Announcement: SHIFT COLORS..... UNDERWAY!

      November 11, 2011 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
  2. s kel

    Jhm213 shut the and move to another country! Would you be whinning like a bi*ct if the Pres was a republican??? Damn the Navy Vet said it was a moral booster. Stupid neck.

    November 11, 2011 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Wowie

      "shut the and move to another country"... the what? the iron off? "bi*ct" = bihct? I hate bihcts too. At least the boosters have, in your eyes, good morals.

      Sweet baby Jesus, who are you to be calling someone a neck? I haven't seen English abused this badly since Snoop Dogg first came out.

      November 11, 2011 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
  3. s kel

    The rest of the counrty is really really geting sick of the michelle bachman supporters like jhm213 and john on here, mindless tea party drones.

    November 11, 2011 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
  4. Trevor

    Another recruiting tactic. The U.S. spends about $4 billion per year on recruiting, so this seems like a bonus to our warriors and their culture having such a high profile measure coming from some other pocketbook. I live in Ga., where most of us are lower-middle class to working class. The high schools are filled with recruiters, along with their empty promise-filled literature. The lower classes also get doses in their entertainments, such as the Army's sponsorship of NHRA drag racing and NASCAR teams. Was are fought by the lower classes. Now ask the question: what demographic watches the most and is influenced most by NCAA basketball? Is it a people-group that has been historically oppressed? Some people never learn.....Of course this is solely to honor Veteran's Day!

    November 11, 2011 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Red Team

      "Was are fought by the lower class."

      Hear, hear.

      "What demographic watches the most and is influenced most by NCAA basketball?"

      Males 18 to 30.

      "Is it a people-group (Seriously?) that has been historically oppressed?

      A lot of 18 year old males think they are oppressed living under their parents roof. 3 Marine Drill Instructors, being in bed by 10 doesn't seem so bad.

      November 11, 2011 at 8:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Scratch

      Trevor, our armed forces are all-volunteer. We couldn't possibly fill them without reaching out in recruiting efforts.

      As to the rest of your comment: anyone is free to join the military. I served with many well-educated, resourceful people who could have done anything they wanted to. Some of them were from wealthy families. I think a large survey would reveal an overall satisfaction with having served, regardless of social or economic background. That's why proud veterans are highly visible on Veteran's Day.

      November 11, 2011 at 8:58 am | Report abuse |
    • MikeD

      I'm sorry you or the people who live near you feel targeted and exploited, but as far as 'empty promise filled literature' goes, here are the promises I see fulfilled every day in the lives of my sailors: Even the lowest ASVAB (military entry exam) score gets you an almost un-losable job well above the poverty line, a place to live for free (barracks or ship), and full health care coverage (it might not be quick, but it's all inclusive). A few short years of service and you get a true full ride to college, not just partial tuition, but full tuition with living expenses and school books covered. I just returned from deployment on USS Enterprise and hundreds of sailors were taking free classes and getting college credit. Most of my sailors either already have college degrees or have at least two years of college credit. When my sailors leave the Navy they are making nearly six figures within two years using the skills which the Navy sent them to various training schools to learn.

      Recruiters do use some underhanded tactics, but every sailor I talk to who has said "My recruiter lied to me" has also said "but it's put me in a better place." That doesn't justify the recruiters, but my sailors, at least, don't feel like victims.

      November 11, 2011 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Mr. Wonderful

      $4 billion? Care to share your source on that 'fact'?

      You don't....because that number is that far off. But thanks for making up facts....really helps your argument when you can lie.

      November 11, 2011 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      Tell me what is wrong with recruiting if this is indeed solely a recruiting tactic? I would like to hear you explain that. Good luck not sounding like an idiot.

      November 11, 2011 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
  5. realitypolice


    November 11, 2011 at 9:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Ben

      Well-reasoned argument. Thumbs up.

      November 11, 2011 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
  6. Art Beveridge

    I just have to laugh at "The game is being put on at no cost to taxpayers..." line. Think it through. Who paid for that entire venue?

    November 11, 2011 at 9:02 am | Report abuse |
    • r1404

      Maybe you should think it through. If the game isn't played, does that mean that the cost to build the carrier is recouped? Does the carrier disappear? You would be hard pressed to find many other people who would read the comment in the article and not realize that what it meant is that there would be no additional or incremental cost.

      November 11, 2011 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Hollowright

      Get a life! Seriously, it's ok to have a little fun every now and then...despite what the Prophet Glen Beck tell you.

      November 11, 2011 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Ben

      Well, there will be additional costs. The thousands of people there will not be working. The big-wigs flying in to see it will cost money. But, that will probably all cost about a fraction of a cent per tax-payer.

      November 11, 2011 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Bill Brasky

      Ben, the sailors are presently on leave, so they wouldn't be working anyway. Not to mention the game is on a Friday night so most civilians in attendance would not be working either. The ones you didn't count are the workers who planned and setup this event. Not sure who you are referring to big whigs, but if you are referring to the president, he has a set allotted amount of money that he can use on travel expenses. All presidents have had this, Obama is not the first.

      November 11, 2011 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  7. Golden God

    I like it. As a Navy Veteran – I think it's a great idea to do something fun for the troops.

    November 11, 2011 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
  8. Hashim

    To read what it is like over there from a personal close up – check out novel -- king of Bat'ha

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


    November 11, 2011 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
  10. erich2112x

    "Sorry guys, forgot to turn of the radar".....when the basketball gets blown into smithereens after a jump shot.

    November 11, 2011 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
  11. kurtinco

    That is sooo cool. I'd love to see that game and i don't really care for basketball.

    November 11, 2011 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
  12. banasy©

    This isn't about Obama.
    It never was.

    Veterans, Thank you.

    November 11, 2011 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
  13. DaveC

    Just for all of the posters (or thinking of posting) that this is a waste of the taxpayer's dollars or some other stupid nonsense that depreciates the significance of this event to the sailors and marines seeing this basketball game. Stop your darn whining! Who cares if no taxpayers dollars were used? Our dear congress has been wasting our taxpayers dollars being in session since 2010 and doing absolutely nothing to help the average american get a job or fix the economy and we are still paying their salary and taking care of their health care and their family's health care. These men and women put their lives on the line every single day doing an extremely dangerous job (yes, being in the military is dangerous even without being in war) and they get the job done. All you posters who detract from this event with your stupid comments need to get a life. Better yet, if you are young enough you should join the military or your kids should join the military. Until then, just keep quiet.

    November 11, 2011 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
  14. Tom

    Actually, there's a problem with this. I want to see what a carrier's catapult can do to a basketball. Probably a 53-point shot into a basket at the Zoo, if I have my guess. But the court's covering up the equipment. FAIL.

    November 11, 2011 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
  15. trigtwit palin... America's favorite tard baby

    I like to sit here and drool all day. And watch nascar.

    November 11, 2011 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
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