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Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Aircraft carrier game plans move ahead

Associated Press

Michigan State and North Carolina are moving forward with plans to play a basketball game aboard an aircraft carrier on Veterans' Day.

Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis said Tuesday night that the long-discussed game is to take place this year in San Diego's harbor. The schools have been working with Morale Entertainment to produce the event, which will include a concert on the converted flight deck.

"We're very pleased with the progress that we've made with the Pentagon, Morale Entertainment and the University of North Carolina," Hollis said. "We've been looking at doing this for eight years to give something back to those who put themselves in harm's way and to the families they leave behind when they're away on duty. We wanted to do something unique that could be shown to troops worldwide on Veteran's Day - 11-11-11 - as a sign of appreciation."

Hollis says organizers are in discussions with television networks and potential sponsors to ensure the event is financially viable.

Hollis said capacity on the carrier will be 6,000 with both schools getting about 500 tickets. The rest will be distributed to enlisted men and women and their families.

Magic Johnson, who led Michigan State to the national championship in 1979, is expected to participate in a basketball clinic for children of troops, possibly with North Carolina legend Michael Jordan.

"I've got Magic confirmed to be a part of it and you can imagine who we're trying to get from the other side," Hollis said.