If they play sports in the world of the Twilight Zone, they probably go something like the Carrier Classic did Friday.
The starting lineups for the Ohio State Buckeyes and Marquette Golden Eagles had been announced, the Top Gun theme song had come to a close and everyone was ready for some basketball after a long offseason.
Then, without warning, there was a swarm of people on their hands and knees wiping the floor with towels.
After about an hour of watching officials, players and even Buzz Williams trying their best to dry the court, fans and television viewers were told that the game between Ohio State and Marquette had been called.
There was so much condensation on the floor that there was really little choice. Official John Cahill summed it up best in an article on ESPN.com:
All were apprehensive about playing the game. You could feel the wet spots on the floor. Our primary concern is with the student-athlete. The last thing we want is any kid who's got a future in the game of basketball to be injured as a result of this.
A few hours south of the Carrier Classic’s South Carolina location was the Jacksonville setup for the Navy-Marine Corps Classic between the Florida Gators and Georgetown Hoyas.
Unlike the battle between the Buckeyes and Golden Eagles, this game actually tipped off.
After a half of play, the Gators led the Hoyas 27-23, and things seemed to be playing out as expected. Surprisingly enough, though, basketball games on aircraft carriers rarely work out as expected.
The nighttime humidity was too much for the court to handle, and the contest was called at halftime because of condensation problems.
Neither the Carrier Classic nor Navy-Marine Corps Classic will be rescheduled.
So, what do the cancellations mean for the future of aircraft-carrier games in college basketball?
While the purpose of scheduling these games is more than admirable, the fact of the matter is the health of the student-athletes is at risk if they are going to play on a slippery surface. After all, this is the sport that has issues with large midcourt decals in conference tournaments.
Needless to say, the powers that be at the NCAA will undoubtedly review the situation going forward.
The simplest solution would seem to be something along the lines of the Michigan State Spartans versus UConn Huskies Armed Forces Classic that also took place Friday night. The Spartans and Huskies played in a hangar on the U.S. Ramstein Air Base in Germany.
As in, a dry surface.
The armed forces that deserve all of our appreciation were able to enjoy a basketball game that had no elevated health risks for the participants.
Of course, easy solutions and the NCAA never really go hand in hand, so don’t be surprised if this one isn’t a reality by next season.
What do you think? How would you go about scheduling armed-forces appreciation games like this without risking the health of the players?
Let us know in the comments section below.