The U.S. aircraft carrier that launched the first attacks against al Qaeda and the Taliban after the September 11, 2001, terror attacks on the United States will be the site of another first, as it hosts the opening game of the 2011 NCAA college basketball season.

Friday, Navy Chief of Information Rear Adm. Dennis Moynihan confirmed that after more than a month of discussions with a promoter, an agreement has been reached to hold the game on the USS Carl Vinson.

A company called Morale Entertainment will organize the game and be responsible for all the costs. “There will be no cost to the taxpayer,” Moynihan said.

The Carl Vinson has played key roles in the fight against terrorism since the global war on terror began. Aside from launching the first wave of attacks on al Qaeda and Taliban targets in Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks, it also carried the body of Osama bin Laden — the leader of the terror group behind those attacks — for burial at sea after he was killed in a U.S. military raid in Pakistan earlier this year.

Now the Carl Vinson is on track to make sports history, as the first-ever carrier to host an NCAA basketball game.

The deal calls for the Michigan State Spartans to play the University of North Carolina Tar Heels on Veterans Day, November 11, on the top deck of the carrier at the U.S. Naval Base in San Diego. Former UNC star Michael Jordan and former MSU star Earvin “Magic” Johnson are the honorary captains for the game.

The “Carrier Classic,” as the game has been dubbed, will be the first televised college basketball game of the season for ESPN, which has agreed to broadcast the game.

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