The Spartans have played a game on Navy property. Now they're going to actually play Navy.
Michigan State made quite a splash (pun intended) when they played a game against North Carolina on an aircraft carrier in San Diego a few years back. The president was on hand and everything. Now, Tom Izzo's team will actually play at the Naval Academy, opening up their 2014-15 season against Navy as part of the Veterans Classic at the Naval Academy, which will appropriately take place right after Veterans Day on Friday, Nov. 14.
"I've been fortunate enough to play in some amazing venues and be part of some great events, but the one thing I've always felt was missing was the chance to play at one of our service academies," Izzo said in the school's release. "I'm excited to expose my team to the realities of life at the Naval Academy. Over the years I've had the opportunity to interact with the U.S. military in many different places, including coaching a team of servicemen and women in Kuwait, playing basketball games on an aircraft carrier and on an air base in Germany, and even meeting with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey this past May. Every time, I'm convinced that the U.S. military is our country's greatest team, and I'm floored by the discipline, sacrifice and attitude of its men and women.
"We are honored to take part in an event honoring our veterans and to be playing at a place that has produced some of our country's great leaders. And for me, I'm glad to have another opportunity to coach against my friend Ed DeChellis, a coach for whom I have the utmost respect."
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The event, a doubleheader, will feature not only Michigan State vs. Navy but also a game between VCU and Tennessee. It's also going to be a recurring thing. The Veterans Classic will be played annually through 2017. The only mainstay, however, will be Navy.
Here's some more from Michigan State on what the event will offer the Spartans players:
The three participating schools will have the rare opportunity to get a glimpse of what life is like as a midshipman at the Naval Academy. From touring the "Yard," to watching noon meal formation and eating lunch with the Brigade at King Hall, the teams will be immersed in the culture and tradition of the Naval Academy. The event will include a number of other unique experiences, including military demonstrations and receptions.
First came the game on the aircraft carrier. Then the game on the air base in Germany. Now the game at the Naval Academy. They tried to play a game at the White House. Perhaps it's the Spartans who truly are America's Team.