The United States Navy aircraft carrier that was recently used to bury Osama bin Laden at sea is under consideration to host a college basketball game on its deck between North Carolina and Michigan State.
The hoops game between the Tar Heels and Spartans had previously been scheduled and billed as the 2011 ‘Carrier Classic’ college basketball game to take place on a US carrier docked in the Navy port located in San Diego Harbor on Veterans Day, November 11th.
The USS Carl Vinson was the US aircraft carrier that bin Laden’s body was flown to for burial at sea after he was killed by US Navy Seals two weeks ago. It is one of two US warships under consideration to stage the basketball game, the other being the USS Ronald Reagan.
The game is being co-produced by the Morale Entertainment Foundation of San Diego, a company that provides overseas entertainment to military troops. Morale’s Mike Whalen told WRAL in North Carolina that either the USS Carl Vinson or USS Ronald Reagan probably would host the event.
The game will be the first basketball game played on the deck of a US aircraft carrier. Should there be rain, which is unlikely in San Diego, the game would be played in the flight deck.
There will be 7,000 tickets available, but mostly to military personnel, as the Navy doesn’t want basketball fans wandering around an aircraft carrier, let alone one that dropped bin Laden to the bottom of the Arabian Sea. There are no tickets for sale, but a few limited tickets will be available to game sponsors and don’t be surprised if North Carolina and Michigan State alumni Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson drum up a couple of on deck ducats.
The game is the brainchild of Michigan State athletic director Michael Hollis. Hollis has a track record of arranging interesting venues for sporting events, he scheduled basketball games against Kentucky and North Carolina at Ford’s Field in Detroit as well as setting up the outdoor college hockey game between Michigan and Michigan State at Michigan Stadium. That game at “The Big House” established an all-time attendance record for a college hockey game with over 100,000 fans.