The Morale Entertainment Foundation (MEF) and Patriots Point, home of the USS Yorktown, have begun talks to reach a three-year extension of their agreement to hold the annual Carrier Classic college basketball doubleheader on the flight deck of the highly decorated ship, now a museum.
Discussions for next year’s Carrier Classic, which would once again feature four of the NCAA’s top ranked programs, are underway, according to Mike Whalen, Director of MEF, and Mac Burdette, Executive Director of Patriots Point. “We’re pleased to explore the opportunity of returning to the Yorktown to stage one of college basketball’s premier events,” said Whalen. “The setting for Carrier Classic II was outstanding and the people of Charleston and Patriots Point have been extremely supportive.”
Burdette added, “We’re thrilled with the reception that we’ve received from hosting Carrier Classic II, and are excited to begin discussing an encore for 2013 and beyond.” Next year’s Carrier Classic would be the third produced by MEF. The first event in 2011 took place on the flight deck of USS Carl Vinson in San Diego. This year’s Carrier Classic was expanded to a men’s-women’s doubleheader aboard the Yorktown.
Funds raised from the two Carrier Classic events have benefited the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, the Wounded Warrior Project, and the San Diego Air and Space Museum. The Morale Foundation’s mission is to support and celebrate active military and veterans who have served the United States by creating and producing sports and entertainment events that raise appreciation of the military. Put simply, Morale’s goal is to “Make Every Day Veterans Day.”
The Patriots Point facility, with 367 acres of green space and camping facilities, is home to the iconic USS Yorktown, which was transformed into a unique sports arena for Carrier Classic II. Also on the grounds of Patriots Point are a number of unique pocket museums including the docked submarine Clamagore, the newly restored destroyer USS Laffey, a Cold War Memorial, and a Viet Nam era base camp. The Naval aviation museum has received a “10 Rating” from the Navy Tail Hook Society for housing restored examples of the most famous carrier based aircraft flown in American military actions. The facility is also home to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society and Museum.