Naval Station Mayport, Fla., has been without a carrier to call its own since 2007. Local leaders have asked the Navy repeatedly for another flattop, a move that would involve millions of dollars’ worth of construction to make Mayport capable of hosting a nuclear-powered vessel and would add millions more to the area economy. So far, they’ve had no luck.
When the Navy and the city of Jacksonville announced last month that the Georgetown and Florida men’s basketball teams would square off on a ship for the inaugural Navy/Marine Corps Classic, it was assumed a carrier would be brought down to host the contest — and possibly sail into a bit of a PR debacle.
Well, problem solved: Rather than a carrier, the Hoyas and Gators will play Nov. 9 on the amphibious assault ship Bataan, according to multiple reports. Joining Bataan in Mayport will be the dock landing ship Carter Hall and amphibious transport dock Mesa Verde, according to this Fox 30 TV report.
The trio of amphibs will serve as a preview of the amphibious ready group Mayport will host beginning next year.
Bataan is the only active ship hosting a Nov. 9 hoops game: Syracuse is facing San Diego State aboard the decommissioned carrier Midway in San Diego Harbor (with a TV deal, even), and Ohio State will face Marquette on the decommissioned carrier Yorktown off Charleston, S.C. (Not a vet or on active duty? Bring your wallet).
The Army and Air Force men’s teams are tentatively slated to participate in a four-team tournament on Yorktown in the days following the OSU-Marquette game. Despite the explosion in basketball on ships set for November, the Navy hoops team remains land-based.