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The Daily Tar Heel

Fever Needs To Make Over Its Attitude

e-mails, fliers littering campus and unbelievable campaign promises that no one could possibly deliver.

This year, there is actually one promise that caught my eye: Carolina Athletic Association presidential candidate Michael Songer's plan to take away Carolina Fever's seats at basketball games.

The reason that promise interested me while I scanned the various platforms during class is because I have a long-standing dislike for Carolina Fever.

The organization is 500-strong and, admittedly, it does put butts in the seats during the fall and some winter sports. But of course, there's also the 10-sport spring season.

A lot of those 10 sports are hurting for fan support in ways the fall sports never have. Check out a softball game or tennis match, and you'll find mostly parents and other athletes cheering the Tar Heels on.

As far as I can tell, Fever just stops existing as soon as the men's basketball season is over.

"Fever markets itself as an easy way to get basketball tickets," Songer said, adding that Fever starts targeting incoming freshmen at C-TOPS.

If Songer gets elected -- and that's probably a big "if" because any reasonable Fever member will turn out to vote against him -- taking those 169 seats away could bring the end of Fever.

Songer doesn't agree with me, but I suspect that members won't be as eager to support volleyball when they're not earning seats to see Kris Lang.

That's the shame of it. Although Songer's idea would make things more fair, hundreds of UNC athletes might get less recognition. Some fall coaches depend on Fever to help fill up the stands for important games.

Songer said Fever needs to market to "a different type of people." In other words, ones who support their schools' athletics without receiving perks.

Part of the UNC experience is getting up and stumbling to the Smith Center to stand in line with students and bitch about how much you hate CAA.

By being a member of Fever, students avoid this fall and winter ritual, collect their tickets and enjoy lower-level seats.

But they still haven't earned it.

As much as Tar Heels' fans scorn the Cameron Crazies, most are envious of the way Duke makes its fans earn their tickets. Standing in the blistering cold at 6 a.m. doesn't come close to the insanity of camping out for weeks, but it's better than nothing.

Fever members argue that they have earned their seats by attending other sporting events. I don't buy that argument because it cheapens the other sports. It says nothing but men's basketball at this University matters.

And that's bull. I've seen exciting games at the Smith Center, but there are just as compelling contests at Henry Stadium, Fetzer Field or Finley Field.

One of the best games I've seen at UNC was a field hockey match against Old Dominion. It was a Fever game, so those members attending earned points toward basketball tickets.

The fans were completely caught up in this game, which ODU pulled out in the last minute of play. Fever started heckling ODU's Marina DiGiacomo every time her stick touched the ball.

Watching the fans get wrapped up in a game most probably didn't understand was a satisfying experience. It was what Fever should be.

Whether Songer or his opponent Reid Chaney wins, changes are in order for Fever. Chaney wants to let Fever keep its seats, but institute a new system so spring sports benefit from Fever.

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Either way, Fever will start going in the right direction of an organization that supports all of UNC's sports teams, not just men's basketball.

Rachel Carter can be reached at racarter@email.unc.edu.