The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Saturday October 23rd

Kenan introduces Tar Pit

Fans will wear blue in new section

It might not be black, but organizers are hoping you'll notice the Tar Pit at Kenan Stadium when this year's football season officially kicks off.

To amp up the stadium's atmosphere, Tar Pit planners reorganized the student section - shifting the Marching Tar Heels and Carolina Fever into the west end zone seating.

"The section behind the goal post is empty virtually every game, and that just looks bad," Carolina Athletic Association President Colby Almond said. "We students should be filling up every section, and it should be packed every game."

Organizers said they hope that by shifting the marching band and Carolina Fever - two of the loudest student sections - other students will follow and fill the notoriously vacant area.

New speakers installed in the section will broadcast the band and student section to other parts of the stadium and help students hear in-game announcements, said Carolina Fever Director Kellan White, who helped organize the section.

Despite the shifts, organizers said the overall structure of student seating will not be affected.

"There is no drastic change for student seating," said Clint Gwaltney, associate athletic director for ticket and Smith Center operations.

Of the about 60,000 seats in Kenan Stadium, about 12,000 are reserved for students, and Gwaltney said this number will not change.

Some students said they'd be willing to forgo a better view to sit in the more spirited section.

"I'd give it a shot," senior Matt Preslar said. "You'd definitely rather sit on the 40 than the end zone, but if the atmosphere is better, I'd try it out."

The Tar Pit, which was originally planned to be filled with students clad in tar-black shirts, will be Carolina blue instead.

"A solid black student section in 95-degree weather is probably not a good idea," Almond said.

In addition to the concerns about the heat, organizers decided that the blue T-shirts jibed more with UNC's Turn it Blue campaign, which encourages fans to wear Carolina blue to all athletic events.

"The color of the T-shirt won't make a difference to how rowdy the crowd is," White said. "It isn't an issue that would make or break the student section."

To encourage students to sit in the section, White said 5,000 Carolina blue shirts will be given away at the first game, which is scheduled for 6 p.m. Sept. 1.

Unlike other shirts distributed at football games, the Tar Pit shirts will come in different sizes.

In addition to offering a better fit for students, White said the T-shirts - given out on a first-come, first-served basis - will encourage students to arrive before kickoff.

But the new section only will be as good as fans make it, White said.

"A new student section isn't going to make us win, but the energy coming from it will allow the players to have more motivation."

Contact the University Editor at udesk@unc.edu.

 

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