MOUNT PLEASANT — Carrier Classic officials say they have an “engineering solution” to the condensation problem that wiped out the second game of the event Friday night on the aircraft carrier Yorktown.
That solution should prevent similar problems when the Carrier Classic returns to the Yorktown on Nov. 8, 2013, event organizer Mike Whalen said Monday.
But with copycat carrier games springing up around the country, Whalen wants to keep the solution secret.
“Some of the other games have had their own issues,” Whalen said. “So I’m not going to go into the details of how we are going to do it. They are the competition, so let them find out.”
Whalen is director of the Morale Entertainment Foundation, which puts on the Carrier Classic. He and Mac Burdette, executive director of Patriots Point, said they are discussing a three-year deal to keep the Carrier Classic at the Yorktown.
Whalen said he plans to bring the Carrier Classic back to the Yorktown next year, pending approval by the Patriots Point Development Authority Board. He plans for another doubleheader, with men’s and women’s games.
“We expect to, intend to and will be back here in 2013 for the third edition of the Carrier Classic,” Whalen said at a news conference.
About 4,400 people attended last Friday’s Carrier Classic on the Yorktown, which saw Notre Dame defeat Ohio State in a women’s game that began at 4 p.m.
But condensation that developed on the hardwood court, laid out on the flight deck, forced the cancellation of the 7 p.m. men’s game between Ohio State and Marquette.
Whalen blamed that on what he called a “weather anomaly”, with the dew point occurring at 7 p.m. instead of the expected 2 a.m. The dew point is the temperature at which dew forms.
“We came up with a solution over the weekend, and we have 100 percent confidence that our solution will work,” Whalen said. “It’s actually a pretty simple solution, but I’m not going to go into the details.”
The Citadel’s McAlister Field House was the rainout site, but Whalen said it would have required 48 hours notice to move the game.
Whalen also said that playing both games during daylight is not feasible because of TV requirements. NBC Sports Network televised this year’s Carrier Classic, and Whalen said he’s in negotiations for TV rights to next year’s event.
Whalen also said he’s heard from about 15 teams interested in playing next year, including six men’s teams currently ranked in the Top 25. He said he could not name the teams.
Aircraft carrier games have run into trouble this season. Morale Entertainment put on the first Carrier Classic last year in San Diego, which held its own event this year. That “Battle of the Midway” game, between Syracuse and San Diego State, was delayed for two days because of rain.
Jacksonville held the Navy-Marine Corps Classic on the USS Bataan last Friday, but that game between Florida and Georgetown was stopped at halftime due to condensation on the court.
The Carrier Classic benefits the Wounded Warrior Project, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society and the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society. The Classic raised about $525,000 for its charities last year, but Whalen said it would not “come close” to that this year.
About 90 percent of tickets were given away this year, he said. A refund policy for tickets sold is still being determined, Whalen said.
Burdette said Patriots Point is happy to have the Classic back.
“Watching the coverage of the women’s game, we were incredibly excited,” he said. “It would truly cost us hundreds of thousands of dollars to duplicate if we were to go and buy the coverage.
“We’d be very short-sighted not to take another hard look at doing this again. Certainly we have to reduce risk, if not eliminate risk, but I think all those things can be done.”
The women’s game between Notre Dame and Ohio State was not affected by the condensation problem Friday and played to completion in the Carrier Classic on the Yorktown.×
Ohio State men's basketball team take the court during the 2nd annual Carrier Classic Friday, Nov. 9, 2012 aboard the USS Yorktown in Mount Pleasant. (Tyrone Walker/postandcourier.com)×