2006 Carolina athletics buoy
us all By Chancellor James Moeser
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for The Chapel
The Saturday before Thanksgiving was a special one at Carolina.
A morning dedication of the state-of-the-art Max C. Chapman
Jr. Hall, part of our new Carolina Physical Science Complex,
kicked things off. The building was made possible by the people
of North Carolina through the higher education bond referendum
and by the generosity of private donors -- including a $5
million donation by alumnus and former football player Max
As the ceremony proceeded, fans were arriving on campus to
cheer the football Tar Heels in their home finale, a noon
match-up with archrival N.C. State. Breakfast tailgate parties
This was a difficult season for our football team and all
of those who cheer for the Carolina blue. It was good to see
fans arrive early to show their regard for Coach Bunting,
his coaching staff and our team.
Community and unity, spirit and enthusiasm were unmistakable.
And while perhaps more subtle, these attributes are evident
throughout each season as this community supports the Tar
Heels and our teams give back to this community.
Because they generally keep a low profile -- or try to --
many of the student-athletes' efforts may not be known to
you or others in your neighborhood. I think that you will
agree, they are noteworthy and just the kind of activity any
of us would want to see young men and women engaging in as
college students and future community leaders.
Carolina Dreams -- developed by a former member of our men's
lacrosse team, David Werry -- allows student-athletes a chance
to bring children being treated at the North Carolina Children's
Hospital outside for a ball game or other visit to campus
for some fun and fresh air. Their siblings, too, participate
in events and activities.
Representatives from all our teams participate in the Get
Kids in Action initiative, mentoring youngsters at area elementary
schools on the merits of being active and eating right. Individual
student-athletes and teams also visit local elementary school
classrooms once a week to tutor, read to and play with students
through the adopt-a-classroom program.
Student-athletes prepare meals at the Ronald McDonald House
and collect canned food for delivery to a local food pantry.
In the coming weeks, each of our 28 intercollegiate athletics
teams will adopt one or more needy families as part of the
Share Your Holiday program, receiving "wish lists"
from the families, then shopping for, wrapping and delivering
Their one-on-one contributions to this community are not
the only benefits these students bring to Chapel Hill, Carrboro
and Orange County. Their presence and talents pack another
punch: millions of dollars for the local economy. An economic
impact study conducted by UNC Professor Nathan Tomasini made
a conservative estimate of the economic impact of a home football
game at Kenan Stadium. Using the Nov. 5, 2005, Boston College-Carolina
match-up as his guide, Tomasini estimated per-game economic
impact at $6.8 million, with $452,898 per game in total tax
revenue for the town.
Women's basketball, men's and women's soccer, and baseball,
too, are big draws, often bringing families to Chapel Hill,
sometimes for more than one game and a full weekend in the
area's hotels, restaurants and other attractions in between
Of the $127.2 million left in Orange County by tourists in
2005, the Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau reports
that one-half of these tourists came here because of Carolina,
with sports events ranked as the greatest personal connection
to the university and to Chapel Hill. Using calculations developed
by the National Association of Sports Councils, local tourism
officials estimate that in 2004, UNC football and basketball
patrons spent a combined $32.1 million per season in economic
impact for Chapel Hill including meals, lodging, game tickets
and other purchases.
Tourists who visit Chapel Hill for athletic contests leave
dollars here that help grow the economy. And a large portion
of those who come to cheer the Tar Heels have great memories
of downtown and want to spend time there while in town for
In an effort to encourage Carolina football fans to come
downtown, Fifth Quarter Chapel Hill was launched Nov. 18.
A collaboration of the athletics department, the visitors
bureau, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce, Chapel
Hill's Downtown Partnership and the Town of Chapel Hill, this
program provides expanded bus service on game days, allowing
fans from park-and-ride lots to catch buses back to their
cars from Franklin Street several hours after the game has
concluded -- and after they've had time to dine and shop downtown.
As the name suggests, Fifth Quarter goes into overtime and
local leaders, from Carolina and the greater community, want
tens of thousands of fans to consider extending their game
day celebration downtown or elsewhere around Chapel Hill.
It will be a full season feature next fall.
So with the fall sports mostly wrapped, winter play just
underway and the spring offerings still before us, come on
out and cheer some of the home teams. And when you do, make
time for lunch or dinner with friends.
To learn more about upcoming contests and the outreach efforts
of Carolina's 28 intercollegiate athletics teams, visit www.tarheelblue.com.
James Moeser is chancellor of the University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill. He welcomes readers’ messages