UF, G'town to play on carrier at Mayport

Mayor, Navy secretary announce Navy-Marine Corps Classic

Published On: Jun 15 2012 12:28:22 PM EDT   Updated On: Jun 15 2012 06:44:25 PM EDT
Gators basketball on aircraft carrier graphic
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

The Florida Gators basketball team will play the Georgetown Hoyas in theĀ  Navy-Marine Corps Classic on an aircraft carrier at Naval Station Mayport in November, Mayor Alvin Brown and Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced at a news conference Friday afternoon.

The second annual game will take place Nov. 9, the start of college basketball's season. It will be broadcast on national TV.

Brown was also joined by Jacksonville Jaguars President Mark Lamping, whose team will help lead in the city's week-long military appreciation activities.

"This is a unique way to say thank you to our military while putting Jacksonville on display for countless sports fans tuning in from all over the globe," Brown said.

Proceeds from this event will benefit programs supporting Brown and Jaguars owner Shad Khan's vision for transitional housing for veterans.

"The Navy is excited to work with the city of Jacksonville and Naval Station Mayport to bring the Navy-Marine Corps Classic to the First Coast," Mabus said. "The Navy is America's Away Team; when we are on the job, we operate forward around the globe and often out of sight of the American people. This is a unique opportunity to showcase the Navy, and to join together to honor our veterans and active duty military."

The two programs are among the nation's elite. Both teams have won NCAA national championships in men's Division I basketball.

"We're honored to take part in such a special event and one that brings recognition to the United States Navy and Marine Corps," said University of Florida head coach Billy Donovan. "The U.S. Navy has a long and storied history in the city of Jacksonville, and this should be a truly special night. To be able to play an opponent and program the caliber of Georgetown in a city that means so much to the Gator Nation is something we're proud to be a part of."

"It is a tremendous honor for our team to be involved with an event that will recognize the contributions of the United States Navy and all of our military," Georgetown University head coach John Thompson III said. "It will be an incredible learning experience for all involved with our program. We appreciate the opportunity to participate in this historic game with Florida in Jacksonville."

Last year, Michigan State played North Carolina in the first-ever college basketball game on a carrier off the coast of San Diego.

Florida-Georgetown will be one of three games on carriers this year -- the others will be held off the coast of Charleston, S.C., and San Diego.