Second Carrier Classic May Hinge On Availability Of Navy Ships
Morale Entertainment Founder & Dir Mike Whalen said that he is "waiting on the Navy to determine availability of aircraft carriers or other 'big deck' ships in San Diego” before finalizing plans for the second Carrier Classic, according to Mark Zeigler of the SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE. The Navy has made “no formal announcement about a follow-up" to last year's North Carolina-Michigan State game, which was a “ratings bonanza” for ESPN. Whalen claims that he “has a contract with UConn for the 2012 Carrier Classic and a ‘memorandum of understanding’ with Arizona pending finalization of a broadcast agreement acceptable to the Pac-12 Conference.” Whalen also said that he has “verbal agreements” with Ohio State and Notre Dame “to play a women’s prelim.” Zeigler notes what Whalen "doesn’t have is a ship." Navy officials have "privately indicated it is 'highly unlikely' an active aircraft carrier would be available in San Diego in and around Veterans Day 2012." Meanwhile, a local group “apparently has emerged as well and shown interest in organizing a game if Morale Entertainment can’t or doesn’t.” That event “most likely would be on the deck of the USS Midway Museum in San Diego Bay and involve" San Diego State (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 2/8).
ONCE IN A LIFETIME EXPERIENCE: Univ. of North Carolina men's basketball coach Roy Williams yesterday said playing in the first Carrier Classic last November was "off the charts." Williams said, "The actual experience with all of the military personnel -- we were trying to say thank you to them, and they were saying thank you to us. ... We are playing a basketball game, providing some entertainment and they are risking their lives and everything else to protect us and allow us to live the way we do in this country. It was the neatest experience I have had in my entire life” (“The Jim Rome Show,” 2/7).