Always looking outside the box, Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis has found another way to make Michigan State athletics standout above the rest.
On Friday, November 9th, the Spartans basketball team will battle Connecticut in a televised game live from Ramstein Air Base in Germany.
Hollis released the following statement about this once in a lifetime event.
Once again, we are excited about participating in an event that pays tribute and respect to the men and women that serve in our nation's armed forces. With that focus in mind, all other challenges and obstacles in participating in an event of this significance are secondary. Pending final approval by the Department of Defense and with the collaboration of ESPN, we look forward to participating in an NCAA men's basketball regular-season game against Connecticut at Ramstein Air Base in Germany on November 9, 2012.
Coach Izzo has a talent for recognizing and bringing to Michigan State University student-athletes that want to be the best on the court while developing themselves as young men. All of us at Michigan State believe in providing our student-athletes with championship opportunities and amazing cultural experiences. The student-athletes on our men's basketball team have had an opportunity to play the game they love in NCAA Final Fours, for Big Ten titles and aboard a USN Aircraft Carrier in front of the President of the United States of America.
During Coach Izzo's outreach trips to visit and coach our troops overseas, along with our recent experience in San Diego aboard the USS Carl Vinson, we have all developed deep admiration and respect for the men and women that serve in our armed forces. Those troops, many the same age as our student-athletes, protect the freedom that we enjoy every day. It is our responsibility to give reflection and support to these men and women that currently serve and have served in the past. As such, we appreciate the consideration by the Department of Defense to allow NCAA competition to be a reflection of the support our entire nation feels for our troops.
With the game played before an audience of 2,500 to 3,000 enlisted men and women at Ramstein Air Base, ESPN broadcasting the game to troops and a viewing audience across the globe is of tremendous value. We applaud ESPN for their commitment to programming aimed at providing our veterans with the respect they deserve. Once again, Michigan State is honored to part of that programming and we look forward to sharing America's pride with those stationed at Ramstein in November.
Coach Tom Izzo also released a statement about the great opportunity his team will be given to represent MSU and show support for the troops stationed overseas.
This is another amazing opportunity for Spartan basketball and Michigan State University. I'm thankful that ESPN reached out to us to be a part of this great event. Being a part in the first college basketball game to be played on a military base overseas is truly an honor.
Playing in the Carrier Classic on the USS Carl Vinson last season provided memories that will last a lifetime, as the historic event was so much more than just a basketball game. The opportunity to honor the great men and women of the US Armed Forces was a humbling experience, as we felt that we got so much more in return than we gave. To now have the opportunity to take our game overseas to the servicemen and women serving to protect us is an awesome experience. I'm reminded of my trips to the US bases in Kuwait, and what a life-changing experience that was for me. Everyone associated with the Michigan State basketball program is excited for this unique opportunity.