Georgetown and Florida have agreed to play on a ship off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida on college basketball’s opening day, November 9.
The matchup is the third game scheduled to be played on a naval ship that day. Syracuse will play San Diego State on the flight deck of the USS Midway, off the coast of San Diego. Marquette and Ohio State, meanwhile, will square off aboard a ship off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina.
This is the second year the NCAA has designated at least one early-season non-conference game to a naval vessel. During last year’s successful trial run in the inaugural Carrier Classic, North Carolina defeated Michigan State aboard the USS Carl Vinson.
It’s just a damn shame the event is already on the brink of jumping the shark.
The infrequency of the event is partly what made it so unique and special. That playing on an aircraft carrier had been unprecedented before last year enhanced the appeal.
Now, the Carrier Classic is dangerously close to becoming overplayed. Three matchups on different warships in one, jam-packed day—while compelling for fans and rewarding to a wider array of schools and players—is too much.
If everyone is special, then no one is. If everyone gets a trophy, then the trophy is a token devoid of meaning.
Sure, broadening the schedule of games played on ships gives more schools, players and fans the opportunity to experience the distinctiveness of the event. But it comes at a cost. Not only will an expanded schedule diminish the exceptionality of the Carrier Classic over time, but it will cheapen and mitigate the significance of what the event represents.
What began as a sincere patriotic tribute is morphing into shameless military marketing. Worse yet, it’s not far removed from commercialized patriotism.
The Carrier Classic is another brand-able event to which ESPN can affix its logo. It’s marketable, profitable, and no less important, capable of being disguised under the pretense of nationalism.
On the surface, it seems so innocent, so noble and authentic. But with more barefaced promotion, the Carrier Classic, at its very core, becomes wholly corrupt. As soon as the event loses sight of its essential purpose—by leveraging the pageantry for commercial gain, for example—the event has run its course.
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