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The Daily Tar Heel

Orientation guide: Understanding the UNC Athletics student ticket lottery system

ticket app.jpg
DTH Photo Illustration. UNC students must enter a lottery for the football or men's basketball tickets they want.

UNC students get into every athletic event for free — all students need is for front gate personnel to scan their One Card, and they get to watch most of the University’s 28 varsity sports.

Emphasis on “most.” Not the case for football or men’s basketball.

For these sports, students must enter a student ticket lottery for the event they wish to attend.

The lottery

To apply, students must first create a Student Tickets account on the GoHeels website.

Ten days before a football or men’s basketball game, students will receive an email when the respective lottery opens. Students then have 48 hours to apply. 

If selected, students will get one ticket to football games and two to basketball games. An email notifies winners three to four days before the game, then another email from UNC Athletics contains a link for winners to download their tickets.

Students can either download tickets to their mobile wallet or print them to show at the gate. If you can no longer go, tickets can be transferred to another full-time, fees-paying UNC student.

For football, ticket holders can enter Kenan Stadium an hour-and-a-half before kick-off. For men’s basketball, entry into the Dean E. Smith Center is done by phases.

Phase one ticket holders may enter an hour-and-a-half before tip-off, phase two ticket holders enter one hour before tip-off, and phase three ticket holders enter 30 minutes before tip-off.

But, some of these details do not apply to the Duke men’s basketball game.

Beating the lottery?

Remember how students get into all other sports’ home games for free? Carolina Fever is a rewards program which gives students points for attending these events. No sign-up is required.

Games which are designated as “Fever” events are eligible for points. Before entering the event, students must open the GoHeels app in order for gate personnel to scan Fever QR code. To collect all points, students must stay until after the alma mater finishes playing.

For football, the top 200 point-getters are guaranteed one ticket for each game. For men’s basketball, the top 150 point-getters are guaranteed two phase one tickets and one ticket to the Duke game. In order to reserve the ticket, students still must enter the lottery for the events they wish to attend.

The point-getter leaderboards are not static. Students must remain in the top 150 or 200 to keep reserving tickets. Point totals reset after the last men’s basketball home game, so the best time to start collecting points is when spring sports begin.

The schedule for which home games are eligible for Fever points can be found on their Instagram page.

Joining the Rams Club — whose donations provide funds for athletes’ scholarships, facilities and programming — is another way to get ticket priority.

Membership is $25 a year for students. Tickets for football are made available first to student Rams Club members. These tickets are distributed through The Rams Club’s own lottery system, so students who join effectively get two chances to get a football ticket.

The Duke game

The 2022-23 season brought a policy change to how students gain priority in the lottery for the home Duke men’s basketball game.

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Now, half of the student allotment of tickets is reserved for students who attend the most men’s basketball games during the season. The other half is made up of two lotteries — one for graduating students and the other for underclassmen.

Select non-conference home games are free to attend and do not require students to enter a lottery. Racking up Fever points by attending Fever-eligible home games for other sports can also help students get into more men’s basketball games.

The top 150 Fever point-getters still get reserved tickets, but they only get one instead of two. The same goes for Duke lottery winners.


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