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Saturday December 3rd

Victory Bell will no longer be spray painted

<p>UNC and Duke decided to change the color scheme of the victory bell platform, and say no to post game spray-painting.</p>
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UNC and Duke decided to change the color scheme of the victory bell platform, and say no to post game spray-painting.

In years past, whichever team won the annual football game won the right to paint the base of the victory bell — a traveling trophy — their shade of blue.

This year, the base of the bell, which is currently in UNC’s possession, has been painted with both UNC and Duke’s logos and colors.

Athletic directors of both schools, Duke’s Kevin White and UNC’s Bubba Cunningham, made the decision together, said Steve Kirschner, senior associate athletic director for communications. He said the decision came after Cunningham found that people were unaware of the significance and purpose of the trophy.

“People would ask what is the bell for, how do you win the bell,” Kirschner said.

The athletic directors thought by painting the bell both shades of blue, the rivalry would be better understood and represented. Kirschner said this change is not unique to the UNC and Duke rivalry, and that other schools have decided to go the route of celebrating both schools in a rivalry — no matter who wins.

“For a lot of the other specific rivalries, the trophies that they have, both school’s colors are on that trophy,” Kirschner said.

First-year Scott Harn said the new paint job muddles the point of the game.

“If you do it both colors, you’re saying we’re equals,” Harn said. “We wanna see who’s better.”

Harn said he thought changing the tradition affected the community between Duke and UNC.

“It helps bring the community together in this rivalry we have with Duke,” he said.

Kischner said he thought there might naturally be a negative response to the change, but he said he believed the true reward of winning the bell is taking it home.

“If you win the game, you keep the bell...that’s the big part, possession of the bell,” Kirschner said.

Cunningham said in Tuesday’s Faculty Athletics Committee meeting that people have been very concerned about the paint job.

“I’ve gotten more emails in the last 24 hours about the bell than I have about the NCAA in the last 5 years,” Cunningham said.

First-year Aaron Friedman said the change in tradition goes against the meaning of a rivalry.

“A rivalry at its core is about two groups of people hating each other’s guts,” Friedman said.

While the feelings about the new paint scheme remain mixed, Friedman said he hopes the trophy will stay with UNC after Thursday’s game.

He said he was surprised to see the tradition go and thinks it may return in coming years.

Kirschner said the change is permanent. He said it’s not related to the 2014 incident in which UNC spray painted a Duke locker room and practice field.

“Hopefully the fans and the people that think that way will remember to focus on the game,” Kirschner said.


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