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The Daily Tar Heel

Column: Ban the bands from the football stands

UNC students cheer for Carolina Football during a home game at Kenan Stadium against Virginia Tech on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022.

It all started with the overwhelming involvement of UNC’s finest and very vocal parents: And yes, I am referring to the lovely Facebook moms. 

For those of you that don’t know what I'm talking about and red sirens are starting to go off in your head, you might want to brace yourself. 

There is, in fact, a Facebook group with very involved parents that like to update each other on the thoughts, cares and concerns they have about college life, all without having to step foot on campus. So, if you ever get a weird random text from a "Sally" asking if you want to hang out, it's definitely possible your mom arranged a playdate for you. 

While seemingly intrusive, we know they have our best interest at heart — and are reliving their glory days as "room mom" or head of the PTA. Through their involvement in this Facebook group, they think they will change the world, or at least our world.

We can sum this group up as a side-effect of empty nest syndrome in the technological era. Harmless, so we thought. However, their silly Facebook group has been gaining traction and is now instigating change on campus. 

Several weeks ago, some of these notorious Facebook users complained that their child couldn’t get into the student section of a UNC football game even though they had a student ticket. They went on and on about how the student section was filled with people who weren’t UNC students and, therefore, the University needs to do better at patrolling the people entering this exclusive seating. 

Thus came the wristbands.

The University responded to this Facebook uproar by instituting a band system for entry to the student at UNC football games for the student section. Therefore, to get in you must have your OneCard, your student ticket saved to your Apple Wallet (no, it cannot be a screenshot) and now also a colored band. 

Someone, please explain to me why our nationally ranked and highly acclaimed University decided to address this issue by taking on a practice modeled by fraternities across campus every Friday and Saturday night. Obviously, the first attempt at this system was a catastrophe. 

On Sept. 24, we had a home game against Notre Dame. Everyone tailgating and walking about Franklin Street was dressed from head to toe in Carolina blue, chanting and cheering hours before kickoff. It was game day. However, all the excitement came to a harsh halt when you approached Kenan Stadium to see a line that stretched for almost a mile back and wrapped around the Bell Tower. 

For bands. 

Kickoff was at 3:30 pm and the student section was nearly empty at 3:15 pm due to this painfully slow and meticulous process. About 10 minutes before kickoff, bands started being handed out thoughtlessly so our stands would have some excitement. 

The system was absolutely terrible. Someone needed to call up the 14-year-olds manning a Chick-fil-A drive-thru to show Carolina Athletics how it's done. By the end of the chaos, I had friends without student tickets but with bands in the student section and friends with student tickets but lacking bands sadly left behind. 

It was illogical, unnecessary and chaotic.

Further, to enforce this system, UNC recruited some of the strictest people on this planet to man the top of the steps before the student section entrance. So no band, no entry. Even if you have a student ticket. 

At the Notre Dame game, I saw old men with long beards, families with small children and some of the Irish themselves decked out in bright green – all swarming this supposed super-secured student section. 

UNC, stop listening to the moms living hundreds of miles away complaining through a Facebook group. 

Honestly, moms, if your kid wants to secure a spot in the student section, maybe they should get there a little earlier than five minutes before the game. UNC, listen to your students. This system is creating a stressful and negative environment at our football games. 

It’s gameday at Carolina: this means screaming fans and a resounding school spirit that peels the paint off the walls. Not long, disorderly lines waiting for a paper wristband. Listen to your students.


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