Opinion: Someone at fault for not knowing potential weather conditions

The right call was made Friday night in Charleston.

But it shouldn’t had to have been made in the first place.

The Marquette-Ohio State contest was supposed to begin at 7 p.m. local time, and up until a few seconds before tipoff, everything was going swimmingly. Starting lineups had been announced, a goosebump-inducing rendition of the Star Spangled Banner was sung, and the two teams seemed ready to kick off their respective seasons in awesome fashion aboard the U.S.S. Yorktown.

But sometime ago, when the decision was being made to play this game at the given time, at the given venue and the given date, someone wasn’t ready for the possibility that condensation could have formed on the west side of the court, nearest to the Charleston harbor, that potentially could have made the court unplayable.

And it happened.

The game was postponed due to “excessive moisture,” and there’s a good chance the game will be cancelled, as both teams play Sunday afternoon contests.

Someone, or multiple people, within Morale Entertainment, the producers of the Carrier Classic, are to blame for not knowing this could have occurred, or knowing it could have occurred and overlooking it. It’s inexcusable for an event given the kind of hype it received for months.

Somewhere in the discussions for the game, the possibility of condensation coming onto the court as soon as the temperature dropped into the 50’s, like it did Friday night, should have been brought up. Once the condensation came, there was nothing either team could do, and no one is at fault for that.

But the possibility of this occurring was known. Buzz Williams, when interviewed on NBC Sports during the delay, said someone told him if the temperature dropped three more degrees, the condensation would have ceased.

Knowing condensation like this was a possibility was reason enough to move the game indoors. Somehow it was overlooked, and it cost both teams the chance to play tonight. (Photo via Jim McIlvaine’s Twitter)

That same person, and surely many others involved with the set-up of this game, had to have known condensation was a possibility. And if they did, the game never should have been risked being played outdoors.

It’s an extreme honor, and a sight to be seen that anyone in attendance, whether it be players, coaches, referees, or fans, would have remembered the rest of their lives. But because something that could have been known — not necessarily prevented, but known — in advance was not taken into serious consideration, Marquette and Ohio State will leave Charleston with identical 0-0 records.

There are also questions as to why the court wasn’t checked out last night at 7 p.m. to see what court conditions would be like. A few Twitter followers suggested that weather changes daily, but the temperature does drop daily as nightfall occurs, so there’s a good chance the west side of the court was wet last night around 7 p.m.

If someone had checked the court last night at that time (and perhaps someone did and there was no condensation; I write this as initial reaction), the game could have been moved inside to The Citadel’s home court and both teams would be in the final minutes of a closely-contested game.

Teams were able to supply their players and coaches with customized jerseys, caps and Army boots, but when condensation began to form on one end of the court, no one could provide anything better to clean it up with than small towels.

And it would seem the carrier was not staffed well enough for this possibility, either. Buzz Williams was on his hands and knees attempting to dry the floor, Marquette players were wiping water off the court, and even a woman in a Naval uniform was seen trying to get the court dried off.

But even that is a moot point, since once the condensation began it wasn’t going to stop. It couldn’t have been dried off for a two-hour span during the game, but that doesn’t change the fact that this should have been planned for. And if someone did know this was a possibility, then they also knew there was a chance the game could be postponed and then cancelled. For as much of a spectacle as the event could have been (and judging by last year’s MSU-UNC game, would have been), it couldn’t have been worth what happened tonight.

Credit must be given to both Marquette’s and Ohio State’s athletic directors and coaches for making the correct decision not to play Friday night’s game.

I won’t play the blame game because I can’t; I don’t know who is at fault. What I do know is what happened Friday night was not some meteorological miracle that has never been seen before on the deck of an aircraft carrier.

The game goes down as a “no decision,” but everyone lost tonight. The coaches and players. The NCAA. The servicemen and servicewomen who came to watch two teams battle on the U.S.S. Yorktown.

Someone rolled the dice on trying to play this game without knowing for sure if it could be played given potential conditions, and it totally backfired.


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