COLUMBIA — The Carrier Classic will return to the USS Yorktown to open the college basketball season despite last weekend’s cancelled contest between Ohio State and Marquette.
Morale Entertainment President Mike Whalen said today that his group and the Patriots Point Development Authority have agreed to hold the event again next year despite the game being called because of continuing condensation on the court made it too dangerous for the players.
Whalen said he and organizers believe they have an engineering solution to keep the surface dry for next season.
“We’re trying to do some good and we think we can continue to do that,” Whalen said.
There were no complications earlier Friday when Notre Dame women defeated Ohio State 57-51 in a Top 25 matchup on the carrier’s converted flight deck.
Whalen said the format would remain the same with both a women’s and a men’s game.
“There are a lot of women in the military, a lot of women veterans,” he said. “It’s important that we do this.”
Whalen said he has had heard from about 10 schools since Saturday who were still interested in playing aboard the carrier.
The Carrier Classic wasn’t the only outdoor game affected by the weather. The Georgetown-Florida game on the USS Bataan in Jacksonville was called off after halftime because of condensation. On Sunday, Syracuse defeated San Diego State 62-49 on the decommissioned carrier USS Midway, a game that was delayed two days because of the threat of rain.
Activities on the Yorktown were moving along as planned Friday until Ohio State and Marquette began warmups. Players began slipping on the surface and struggling to gain their footing. Referee John Cahill delayed the start to give organizers the chance to dry the court.
Still, the moisture continued and the game was eventually cancelled about an hour after it was supposes to tip off.
Ohio State and Marquette players mingled with fans and military personnel following the cancellation. Buckeyes coach Thad Matta and Golden Eagles coach Buzz Williams both said they’d take part in games like this in the future, if possible.
Whalen said the fans and military he spoke with were disappointed the game wasn’t played, but understood the reason why.
“There was not one boo when the cancellation was announced,” Whalen said. “I think that’s important.”
The first Carrier Classic was held outside San Diego in 2011 when North Carolina and Michigan State played on the USS Carl Vinson, a game attended by President Barack Obama.
This year’s games were held to benefit the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, and the Wounded Warrior Project.