LOCICERO: Morale Entertainment the real goat in Carrier Classic mishap

Michael LoCicero

By now, everyone knows the details of why Marquette wasn’t able to play No. 4 Ohio State on the flight deck of the USS Yorktown Friday night in Charleston, S.C.

Condensation formed on the west side of the court, making it too much of an injury risk for all involved. It was the right decision, but a colossal letdown nonetheless.

Neither Ohio State nor Marquette is to blame for the game not being played. Both teams still got a lot of great experience from the trip, getting a chance to meet veterans and active military members and helping to put on a clinic for children of military families on Thursday night.

The real loser in all of this is the Morale Entertainment Foundation group.

Morale event organizer Mike Whalen and the rest of his cronies should be ashamed that they didn’t have an appropriate back up plan in place for the game.

According to the press release the group sent out a week before the Carrier Classic was supposed to be played, the game would be moved to The Citadel’s McAlister Field House if there was inclement weather.

I guess Whalen didn’t take into consideration the fact there could be floor issues even though it was 60 degrees and sunny all day Friday. And why didn’t he take this into consideration?

He wasn’t even in Charleston until Thursday night because he was at another function. A tarp covered the court Wednesday and Thursday night, and Whalen said, “When my people left the site at 10 o’clock the night before, there wasn’t any problem.”

And on Monday, the group announced that the Carrier Classic would return to the USS Yorktown next year, despite the cancellation.

Whalen said he and the organizers believe they have an engineering solution to keep the surface dry for next season.

Whalen did say that there was water on the court Wednesday when the floor was covered and that the condensation Friday night was “maybe due to the fact that it was a rather warm day.” Well, Mike, I was there Thursday and Friday during the day, and it was about the same temperature both days. No discernible difference.

The players weren’t happy the game was canceled, but all involved agreed it was the right decision. Ohio State guard Aaron Craft said he “saw a couple Marquette guys sliding from about half court to the three point line.” Marquette freshman forward Steve Taylor said it “was like somebody spilled water.” Junior forward Jamil Wilson agreed.

“Nobody even thought about condensation,” Wilson said. “But I don’t know why that didn’t cross anyone’s mind.”

Whalen said somewhere between 85 and 90 percent of the tickets were given away to military families and local schools in the Charleston area. That’s great, and that’s how it should be. But that 10 to 15 percent of people who did shell out $500 a ticket walked away without seeing a great matchup.

The Notre Dame women’s team took down Ohio State 57-51 earlier in the day, but the main event was the Golden Eagles and the Buckeyes. There was no way either team could make the game up Saturday, because both teams played games Sunday.

There really isn’t a lot of blame to go around here. This has to be the end of night games being played outdoors. The same thing happened after a half in Jacksonville with the Florida-Georgetown game.

The fault lies almost solely in the hands of the marketing and entertainment group involved. Check the floor each night around game time and move the game to The Citadel if necessary.

Yes, it would have still been a big letdown to play the game indoors at a 6,000-seat facility, but at least the game would have been played, and everyone involved wouldn’t have left feeling a little cheated.

  • Charles

    have you asked Morale entertainment how much money was given to the charites for this year’s event?

  • Charles

    have you asked Morale entertainment how much money was given to the charites for this year’s event?