Parents and family members of North Carolina football players will be allowed inside Kenan Stadium for future home games, a UNC spokesman confirmed to Inside Carolina. UNC will provide a minimum of two tickets to each player for their families. A separate source told Inside Carolina on Thursday evening that there will be 350 total tickets given out, 100 of which will go to other team.
UNC head coach Mack Brown sent an email on Thursday night informing players and parents of the change in attendance policy, per a source. State guidelines about social distancing and face coverings will apply.
Last Saturday in North Carolina’s 31-6 opening season win over Syracuse, only the parents of UNC’s senior parents were allowed inside Kenan Stadium to watch the Tar Heels play. Moving forward, parents of all players will be allowed inside the venue.
Carolina was scheduled to face Charlotte this Saturday until the 49ers canceled the game due to a positive COVID-19 test, contract tracing, and required quarantine, which depleted the team’s offensive line.
UNC is working to find an opponent to play in Kenan Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 26. The next home game would be Oct. 10 vs. Virginia Tech.
“We knew when we decided to play football in this environment that cancellations would be a possibility because the health and safety of our teams and community is our priority,” UNC athletics director Bubba Cunningham said. We are looking at opportunities to add an opponent on Saturday, Sept. 26, which is currently scheduled as an open date.”
>>>Possible Matchup Options for UNC’s Sept. 26 Open Date<<<
The news that Carolina’s football parents will be allowed in Kenan Stadium for the remainder of UNC’s home slate is a dash of positive news in what has been a rollercoaster ride of an offseason — and now season — complete with COVID-19 testing, campus infections, season uncertainty, and a game cancellation.
UNC head coach Mack Brown and the athletic administration pushed the state of North Carolina hard to allow parents in the stadium to watch their kids.
“These parents need to be at that game,” Brown said last week. “… I’ve talked to so many of our parents and they’ve never missed a game. The players want their parents and the parents want to be in. The parents are going to come to town anyway. And they’re going to be outside the stadium or having to try to find a place to watch it on TV. … this isn’t a health issue.”
For players, having their parents in the stands is a sense of security and comfort, a sense of joy, and a return to normalcy. Parents of college players have watched their kids play at every level and helped them get to where there are now.
“I think it would be a good feeling (to have my parents there),” UNC linebacker Chazz Surratt said last week. “I don’t think my parents have missed any of my games throughout college or high school or middle school or pop warner. I know a lot of our guys want our parents there. … (to) be able to look up and see our family in the stands. That would be a good feeling.”
Brown believes the support of a mother or father in the wake of a bad game or injury is an unparalleled resource for a player.
“These parents have seen these kids play since a very early age and they need to be there and they need to be there to celebrate with them after a win, to try to pick them up after a game that you didn’t play well in, maybe they didn’t play and they need mental support because mental health is so important right now and their academic support,” Brown said. “But also, we play a very physical game and we need to try to make sure that the parents are there if one of their sons got hurt and hopefully that wouldn’t happen, but they would be there to support them and make sure that they’re safe moving forward.”
The Tar Heels are 1-0. They will not play this coming weekend but could be back in Kenan Stadium on Sept. 26 if an opponent can be finalized.