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So You Want to Go to a Basketball Game…

Being a student at UNC has a lot of perks – endless career-advancing opportunities, a community of outstanding faculty, and of course, complimentary tickets to athletic events. Yep, the rumors are true, you can get into any home regular-season game of any Carolina sporting event with just your OneCard… except basketball. While basketball tickets are still free for students, they are a little harder to finesse than other sports, given that these tickets are highly coveted by many Tar Heel fans across the globe. But I’m here to break it down for you so you never miss a game in the Dean Dome again!

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The Lottery  

Pre-season games are typically fair game for students, no lottery or ticket required! Just show up with your OneCard and you’ll be good to go. Conference games are a little trickier. Early in the year, students will receive an email with a list (example pictured right) identifying lottery and non-lottery games, along with dates the lottery opens and closes. The lottery is entered through an online website, and then students are randomly selected to receive tickets. Odds of ‘winning’ the lottery and receiving tickets vary by game and number of students requesting tickets.

On the designated date, students will receive an email either containing their tickets or notifying them that they have not been selected. Winners receive two tickets to every game except the Dook game, so you can take a friend! Tickets are allocated in ‘phases’ which decide what time you can enter the arena. Phase One means you can get in the earliest (typically 90 minutes before tip), giving you the best seat selection.

Risers are first come first-serve, but from my experience you should have Phase One tickets and arrive one to two hours before your entry time to line up for to ensure you get a good spot in the risers (this is highly dependent on the game and time of the game, however).

The Turn-It-Back Line

If you don’t get tickets from the lottery, don’t let that discourage you from attending. The Carolina Athletic Association distributes all excess tickets in-person through the Turn-It-Back Line. This occurs a few days before the game, but specific details frequently change, so for more information, refer to your lottery rejection email!

The Stand-By Line

If all else fails, turn to the Stand-By Line. At tip-off, any unused student ticket will be redistributed to students in the stand-by line. While you won’t get a front row seat, you still get the game-day atmosphere within the Dean Dome, and it’s still tons of fun! I’ve found this line to be highly successful (especially for the Dook game where the redistribute all tickets, not just student tickets), so it’s definitely worth a shot.

Carolina Fever

Fever is a student organization for the highly dedicated fans. Essentially you get points for attending athletic events such as football, soccer, lacrosse, etc. and during basketball season the top 150 students with the most points are guaranteed two phase one tickets to every game, as well as one phase one ticket to the Dook game. In order to get full points, you must swipe-in and out of games with your OneCard (no, you can’t get away with swiping in and leaving five minutes later).

While this is a pretty high commitment, in my opinion it is completely worth it! It boosts comradery for the other sports and gives you incredible perks (no more stressing about the lottery!). You’ll meet some amazing people just as passionate as Carolina athletics as you are and you’ll have the opportunity to be on the risers in the Dean Dome for a Dook game (which is an incredibly big deal and honestly was one of the highlights of my college career thus far).

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Pro-Tips

So now you know how basketball tickets work, here’s my insight on how to use the system to your advantage:

  1. Follow @unccaa, @UNCStudentTix, and @CarolinaFever on Twitter. These accounts are all super helpful in reminding you to enter the lottery, keeping you updated on all things Carolina, and giving you all the resources to get you in the game.
  2. Write the lottery dates in your calendar, make a poster, or set up alerts on your phone. Forgetting to enter the lottery is the absolute worst, so be proactive and make sure it doesn’t happen!
  3. Work out a ‘you take me when you win and I’ll take you when I win’ deal with a friend giving you a better shot at getting tickets. (note that this one can become sticky and cause drama with other friends so be careful how you go about it!)
  4. Don’t buy or sell student tickets. It’s a violation of the Honor Code and could jeopardize your ability to receive tickets in the future!
  5. Don’t not go to games if you receive tickets. There is a way to turn back your tickets if something comes up leaving you unable to attend, use it. Otherwise you get penalized in future lotteries, slimming your chances of winning.
  6. Arrive at the Dean Dome with friends you want to sit with. You need to have the same phase, otherwise you won’t be able to sit together (unless the person with the better phase is willing to sacrifice and go in later). There is a strict no seat-saving policy and seats are on a first-come, first-served basis.
  7. Don’t give up when you don’t get tickets – exhaust all options. If you are persistent enough, I promise you can get into (almost) any game you want, including the Dook game!

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Basketball games are one of my favorite parts of being a student. This opportunity of not having to pay for tickets is something you have to take advantage of while you have it! Only 103 days until the first home game… Go Heels!!!

Carolina, More Than Just a Basketball School

Okay it’s true, Tar Heels love their basketball. No, we worship our basketball. From late November to early April, the one thing getting us through our Winter blues is that Carolina plays in the upcoming future. We plan our schedules around the Heels, ensuring that we are free to watch each and every game. That is all incredibly true. But we will never be just a basketball school. The passion for the color on our backs bleeds into each and every sport. Need some facts to back it up? Look no further.

Women’s Soccer

A classic example of Carolina talent in it’s purest form, this team holds a whopping 22 National Championship titles[1]. For comparison, the next university with the most titles in this sport is Notre Dame with three titles. To say that Carolina is dominant in Women’s Soccer is an understatement. It should come as no surprise that several Tar Heel alums have won Olympic Gold Medals in this sport. We are so proud to call this program, led by Anson Dorrance, our own.

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Field Hockey

Coming in third in the natty count behind Women’s Soccer and Men’s Basketball is Field Hockey with six championship titles! Most recently, the Heels made it all the way to the Final Four in 2017. This team was also home to six women who earned All-ACC Academic honors, proving that they are successful both on and off the field!

UNC has won 20 out of the 35 ACC Field Hockey tournaments that have been played. That is, while the team accounts for 12.5% of the league, it owns ~57% of the tournament titles. In the 2016 Olympic Games, five out of the 16 players on Team USA were former Tar Heels[2].

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Men’s Lacrosse

In 2016, UNC secured their fifth National Championship title in Men’s Lacrosse. The team also holds 13 ACC champions, the second most in the league behind Virginia. Next Thursday, June 28th you can catch four of these former Heels in action in the Major League Lacrosse All-Stars match[3]!

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Baseball

While our baseball team has never won a College World Series, this is such a talented team worth noting. This year the team made it all the way to the CWS, and while they weren’t able to bring home the title, we are still so proud of their incredible season! This team has six ACC tournament titles and 11 regular season titles, most recently in 2018.

Another reason to love the Diamond Heels? Keenan Stadium and the Dean Dome are amazing places, but there is nothing better than spending a day in the Boshamer Stadium, watching the Heels play baseball, under a beautiful Carolina blue sky!

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Football

So we’ve had our ups and downs with the football program here. While every season may not have been as picture perfect as we may have hoped, this program has created some remarkable successes worth noting. Greg Ellis, Julius Peppers and Mitch Trubisky are among the 215[4] Tar Heels that have played in the NFL.

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Cross Country, Track and Field, Fencing, Golf, Tennis, Wrestling, Gymnastics, Rowing, Softball, Swimming and Diving, Volleyball, Men’s Soccer, Women’s Basketball, and Women’s Lacrosse – I didn’t forget about you guys. But if I raved about each and every Carolina team (which I promise, I totally could), this blog post would go on FOREVER.

So moral of the story, while our basketball team is home to seven National Championships, an incredible coach with over 800 career wins, and amazingly talented athletes; at UNC we love all our sports just the same – and we will not stand to be called a ‘basketball school’.

 

[1] https://goheels.com/news/2015/6/10/205473190.aspx

[2] https://goheels.com/news/2016/7/1/211047891.aspx

[3] https://goheels.com/news/2018/6/18/mens-lacrosse-four-tar-heels-set-to-play-in-2018-mll-all-star-game.aspx

[4] http://www.nfl.com/draft/history/fulldraft?abbr=N&collegeName=North+Carolina&abbrFlag=0&type=school