The first college basketball game to take place on a Navy ship will attract the commander in chief next month.
The White House that President Barack Obama will attend the Carrier Classic game between North Carolina and Michigan State on Veterans Day — Nov. 11 — aboard the USS Carl Vinson.
“This Veterans Day, President Obama will honor our nation’s veterans by laying a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery and then by traveling to San Diego, California, to attend the Carrier Classic on the deck of the USS Carl Vinson,” the White House said in a statement. “He looks forward to a great game between Michigan State and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.”
Converting the deck of the 1 1/2-acre aircraft carrier into an arena that can hold 7,000 fans is no easy task. “This was an idea that seemed totally undoable,” Steven Barber, who is filming a documentary about the game, told the San Francisco Examiner.
Three hundred volunteers will convert the flight deck, and create a backup deck on the hangar deck in case of rain in San Diego. Wind screens will be erected and the ship, according to the Examiner, will be positioned so that no one will be shooting into the sun, which will set just after tipoff.
“It’s a big undertaking,” Mike Whalen, director of the Morale Entertainment Foundation, the game’s organizer told the Examiner. “It’s going to be a floating city.”