Fan capacity will be reduced for the upcoming 2020-21 men’s and women’s basketball seasons in light of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, the UNC athletics department said in new guidelines released Thursday.
UNC Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham and Rams Club Executive Director John Montgomery said in the release that fan capacity at both the Dean E. Smith Center and Carmichael Arena will be reduced, with the department still awaiting an update from the state government regarding specific seating capacities.
Although the state of North Carolina allows for 7 percent capacity in outdoor venues with a seating capacity of over 10,000 people, its Phase 3 guidelines do not mention large indoor venues, with the current restriction on mass indoor gatherings allowing only 25 people in the same place. Regardless of the outcome, the number of fans allowed into both arenas will be reduced.
“Similar to our football procedures, our first priority will be allowing family members of student-athletes and coaches into our arenas,” the press release said. “If increased capacity is allowed, we will work to include as many Carolina fans as possible, including Carolina students, Rams Club members, faculty and staff and corporate sponsors."
The press release also said there will be no season tickets available for purchase this season. Due to the accommodations necessary to ensure proper social distancing, all basketball tickets for the 2020-2021 season will be issued through an online request system. The Rams Club will still have priority access to games and seating assignments, but a member’s choice to not purchase individual game tickets this season will not affect their season ticket priority for the 2021-22 season.
There will also be no physical tickets for basketball games, with all ticketing being moved to a digital platform with the goal of a contact-free entry, as well as to expedite the ticket distribution process.
“We are disappointed that we may not be able to see all of you at the Smith Center and Carmichael Arena,” the press release said, “but the health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches and you — our dedicated Carolina community — remains our top priority. We will be in touch as soon as we can with updates and additional opportunities to support our teams in creative ways.”