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Separating from J.K. Rowling, UNC Quidditch rebrands to "quadball"


UNC's Quadball team practice at Naval Fields. Pictured on Aug. 25, 2022. 

UNC students have participated in Quidditch, a sport originally inspired by the “Harry Potter” book series, for over a decade. However, the sport, which combines aspects of rugby, dodgeball, basketball and soccer, has recently rebranded as quadball in an effort to distance itself from “Harry Potterauthor J.K. Rowling.

Mohamed-Yahia Monawar, the president of the team, said the decision was made this August by US Quadball, the International Quidditch Association and Major League Quadball. 

Monawar said Rowling’s controversial behavior towards the transgender community is a main reason why the name has changed. 

“J.K. Rowling has had a lot of transphobic rhetoric in the past,” he said. “So kind of in an effort to move further away because one of the key aspects of the sport is its gender inclusivity.” 

Kyla Kurosawa, a senior who has been involved in the sport since their first year at UNC, said that as a trans member of the team, it is important that the sport is separating itself from Rowling, but that there are also other reasons for the name change. 

They said it is better for merchandising or getting partnerships and sponsorships if the sport is not connected to Rowling’s “Harry Potter” franchise.

“Removing us from the name Quidditch and all of the gimmicks that it's associated with will make it seem like a more serious sport that will get more people to want to join,” they said. 

Kurosawa said that since participation in Quidditch across the United States declined during the pandemic, rebranding as quadball will make more people want to participate. 

Yiyang Fan, a sophomore who had never played the sport before coming to UNC, said that it is not hard to learn. 

“It’s kind of easy to get the idea of Quidditch, and also you have all the teammates helping you,” he said.

Monawar said the great thing about quadball is that people can choose their level of participation. 

Despite the sport's controversial name, members were originally drawn to the sport because of its connection to “Harry Potter. 

Fan said that what motivated him to join the club was its name. 

“I love the name of Quidditch,” he said. “That's part of the reason that drove me to take part in the Week of Welcome event in the Quidditch team last year.”

Kurosawa said that their favorite memory was when they caught the Snitch during the US Quidditch Mid-Atlantic Regional Championships. 

“I immediately skirted off the field and tackled my friends,” they said. “That was so fun.” 

For Fan, he said the best part about playing quadball is the team aspect of it. 

“We cheer for the players in court and we just actively talk about the strategies and tactics; everybody is trying their best to score, to win the game,” he said. “I really enjoy the feeling of having so many teammates around me that we were making efforts for the same goals.”

Fan also enjoys being able to represent the University at team tournaments. 

“I'm representing my team, I have the jersey with Carolina Quidditch on there,” he said. “And our whole team is like a buddy.”

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