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The Daily Tar Heel

What student Tar Heel fans need to know about attending UNC athletics events


A student cheers during the NCAA men's basketball championship game against Kansas in the Dean E. Smith Center on Monday, April 4, 2022. 

UNC students have a plethora of men's and women's athletic teams to cheer for, with 28 varsity sports programs that have won nearly 50 NCAA Division I team championships.

Students can get in free to any home sporting event by showing their One Card at the student entrance — with the exception of football and men’s basketball, which require tickets.

Student ticket lottery

Student tickets for football and men’s basketball are allocated through a lottery system run through the GoHeels Online Ticket Office.

For football games, students will receive an email about 10 days prior to game day notifying them that the lottery has opened. Students will then have 48 hours to enter the lottery before it closes. Several days after the lottery closes, all students who have entered the lottery will be sent an email notifying them whether or not they have won a ticket.

Lottery winners will be emailed their tickets 24 hours before the game.

There is a designated student entrance at Kenan Stadium, where students must show both their ticket and One Card to attend the game.

Most men’s basketball home games use the same lottery system, save for a few select games that are open to all students on a first-come, first-served basis. Tickets for the Duke game prioritize graduating students, and lottery winners receive only one student ticket.

Tickets won through the lottery are not eligible for resale, although they can be transferred to another full-time UNC student through the online ticket portal.

Guest passes for football and men’s basketball, which include one free student ticket and up to five guest tickets, can also be purchased online through the portal. Guest passes have designated seats and do not allow access to student sections.

Men’s basketball student ticket phases

For men’s basketball games with a lottery ticket distribution, ticket winners will be randomly assigned an entry phase.

Those with Phase 1 tickets are allowed entry into the Dean E. Smith Center 90 minutes before tip-off, Phase 2 tickets allow entry an hour before and Phase 3 tickets allow entry 30 minutes prior. Priority granted by Phase 1 and Phase 2 tickets is only valid during that phase’s designated time period. If a student misses their time window, they cannot cut the current phase’s line.

Certain sections of the basketball arena are designated for student seating, including lower-level and riser seats. All seating is first-come, first-served.

Carolina Fever

Carolina Fever is a free program available to all UNC students that offers rewards for attending sports events. Students are awarded points for attending certain events which are denoted on a schedule released monthly by Carolina Fever.

Fever events can be worth anywhere from one to three points. To earn full points at a Fever event, students must scan their One Card before and after each event.

The top 200 point-getters are guaranteed one student ticket to each home football game, and the top 150 are guaranteed two tickets to each home men’s basketball game, except for the Duke game, for which they will get one ticket. At the end of the school year, students can redeem their fever points for prizes ranging from stickers to T-shirts.

Points can be earned from the start of the school year up to the last home men’s basketball game. Any points earned after that date will roll over into the next year’s points total.


@dthsports |

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Lucas Thomae

Lucas Thomae is the 2023-24 sports managing editor at The Daily Tar Heel. He has previously served as an assistant sports editor and summer editor. Lucas is a senior pursuing a major in journalism and media with a minor in data science.