The Florida Gators have agreed to participate in a four-team barnstorming event set for 2018, according to ESPN.com’s Andy Katz, in which they will face Michigan State, North Carolina and Texas over an eight-day period with games spanning the country in New York, NY, Chicago, IL, and Los Angeles, CA.
Singled out as the event’s creator, MSU athletic director Mark Hollis told ESPN.com on Wednesday that all four schools have agreed to participate in the event and travel “together on a single chartered airplane” from city to city, taking in the sights with special events being held at each stop as well.
“So many of these kids know each other from AAU and everything else that we felt this would be a great way to travel,” Hollis explained. “I worked with [athletic directors] Steve Patterson at Texas, Jeremy Foley at Florida and Bubba Cunningham at North Carolina on this. They and the head coaches are all excited about the opportunity for the student-athletes.”
The teams will arrive in New York City on Dec. 14, 2018, on their own. The first doubleheader, with matchups and times to be announced at a later date, will be at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 15. On Sunday, Dec. 16, the four teams will tour the Freedom Tower at the 9/11 memorial and also visit Wall Street. They will then see Motown the musical on Broadway, assuming it is still running.
The teams will then travel together to Chicago later that night. They will go to a Chicago pizza dinner on Monday, Dec. 17, followed by a Second City comedy show. The second doubleheader on the trip will be Dec. 18 at the United Center.
The teams will then fly to Los Angeles on Dec. 19. Once in L.A., the teams will head to Disneyland and a dinner. The teams will then tour Warner Brothers Studio and the Grammy Museum on Friday, Dec. 21.
The third and final doubleheader will be Dec. 22 at Staples Center.
The Gators often participate in major non-conference events but doing something of this magnitude will be a first for the program.
Florida competed in the 2012 Navy-Marine Corps Classic on the deck of the USS Bataan in Jacksonville, FL two seasons ago and is scheduled to play in the 2014 Battle 4 Atlantis against three teams in a loaded field that includes Butler, Georgetown, Oklahoma, North Carolina, UCLA, Wisconsin and Alabama-Birmingham.