The UNC athletics department created a roadmap for the return of fall sports with the hope that fans and students could attend stadiums at a limited capacity on game days. But there are mixed emotions among students about their safety as COVID-19 trends continue to worsen across the country.
Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham expressed his desire to resume sports in a 60 Minutes interview that aired in June. He discussed his intention of inviting athletes back onto campus — including the entire football team — which returned to campus in groups throughout the summer.
Cunningham and Rams Club Executive Director John Montgomery sent an email to Rams Club members on June 11 — a few days before the CBS broadcast — sharing their hope to host athletic events at a reduced capacity, then reiterated their hope on July 27 with a statement about the reduced attendance plan for Kenan Memorial Stadium. That message included other alterations for dealing with COVID-19, selling digital tickets to individual games and spacing seat locations to accommodate social distancing.
As of now, UNC football is scheduled to start its season at home on Sept. 12 against Syracuse. Cunningham showed his support for the fall sports season starting in a public letter sent out on Aug. 6, citing the impact these sports, especially football, have on the athletic department's revenue.
Some students are looking forward to having the chance to watch the Tar Heels compete. Junior Reagan Cooper said she is not concerned about potential health risks relating to COVID-19 and would be open to attending games in-person.