The United States Navy

Quicken Loans Carrier Classic is Prepared for Anything

Press Release   •   Nov 09, 2011 06:29 EST

Production is underway on the Quicken Loans Carrier Classic basketball game aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70).

The Michigan State Spartans are set to take on the University of North Carolina Tar Heels at the first ever college basketball game on a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier.

Preparations to set up for the event have been taking place throughout the week, with the construction of bleachers seating 7,000 people and a full basketball court on the flight deck of Carl Vinson.

Sailors assigned to the "Seahawks" of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 41, are assisting with the setup of the event. Naval Aircrewman 3rd Class Marco Gilio and Naval Aircrewman 3rd Class Carlin Henderson have donated over 30 hours of their time assisting with the construction of the event. In return, the squadron will be giving them tickets to the event.

"It is a really cool opportunity to be able to help set up for this event. I really enjoy being a part of this entire process," said Gilio. "I can't wait for the game."

Basketball legends Magic Johnson, who attended Michigan State University, and James Worthy, who attended University of North Carolina, will be honorary Captains for their alma maters during the event.

There is also a duplicate basketball court and bleachers seating 2,000 people being constructed in the carrier's hanger bay in case of adverse weather.

"One of the things that you have to plan for with an event of this magnitude is weather. Unfortunately there is a probability of rain on Friday, so in the hanger deck we are building a duplicate deck, smaller grand stands though," said Thomas Lee, a co-founder of the Morale Entertainment Foundation, the driving force behind the event. "Our idea is not to turn anyone away, if that were to happen, on a random basis we will have people in sections come down and enjoy the game."

Part of the criteria for running this event was that it could not cost the taxpayers any money at all, said Lee. Morale Entertainment Foundation had to take control of everything and all of the liabilities, which cost millions of dollars.

Morale Entertainment Foundation is primarily a volunteer organization dedicated to improving the moral of service members all over the world.

The Quicken Loans Carrier Classic will be held on Veterans Day, Nov. 11.