Officials Inspect Aircraft Carrier For MSU-UNC Hoops Game This Fall
Officials from the Navy, ESPN and the Morale Entertainment Foundation "spent a few hours" inspecting the USS Carl Vinson yesterday, less than five months before Michigan State and North Carolina are scheduled to play a men's basketball game on Veterans Day, according to Bernie Wilson of the AP. The inspection, which “was to continue today, is a big step toward a final agreement for the game to be played.” Among the “numerous issues organizers have to deal with are security, weather, lighting, insurance, legal matters and getting the participants and an estimated 7,000 fans from shore to the ship, which is 1,092 feet long.” Sports consulting group Positive Impact President & CEO Michael Rowe said that “two courts will be built for the game, one for the flight deck and one for the hangar deck below in case” it rains. Although the court “will be surrounded by temporary stadium seating, there are plans for some kind of wind screen in an attempt to match the controlled environment basketball games are played in” (AP, 6/20). In San Diego, Nick Canepa writes the aircraft carrier game is “the brainchild” of Michigan State AD Mark Hollis, who “got together with Mike Whalen of Morale Entertainment Foundation, which provides entertainment for troops here and abroad.” The San Diego Sports Commission “also is involved.” Whalen said, “The Navy wants it, we want it and the administration wants it. There must be 20 lawyers for the Navy involved.” Canepa writes, “There’s no downside here. Great for the city, great for the Navy, great for college basketball” (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 6/21). In California, Tom Sheridan notes the USS Carl Vinson, “famous for its involvement in the Osama bin Laden mission, is widely believed to be the carrier that will be used for the game.” Whalen said that “750 tickets will be allotted to each school, and another 1,500 will go to promoters and sponsors, but the rest will be distributed through the military, chiefly the Navy.” ESPN Coordinating Producer Dave Miller said that the network “is expecting to use 12 to 15 cameras to capture the game action and sideline color.” Sheridan notes organizers “have previously alluded to a making this an annual event and Whalen revealed on Monday that opponents have already been picked for a second installment in 2012” (NORTH COUNTY TIMES, 6/21).