CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Fans and cash go hand-in-hand when it comes to college athletics. In fact, more universities are selling out to advertisers than before. Now, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill said it wants in on the action.
Right now, UNC has limited ad space, mostly on digital display boards. The school is one of the few holdouts that does not allow permanent corporate logos in its athletic facilities.
But, with athletics director Dick Baddour projecting a $600,000 shortfall, that soon could change. The full board of trustees plans to vote Thursday on a proposal to allow permanent paid advertising in the Smith Center and Kenan Stadium.
Officials claim the university's athletic program could use more money and scholarships need funding.
Though members of a BOT committee approved the resolution Wednesday, they did not applaud it.
"If it's not necessary, I don't want to do it," committee member Jean Kitchen said. "That's where our critics will be if we sell ourselves further down the river."
Said committee member Judith Wegner: "I worry . . . if people will see athletics on campus as semiprofessional."
The proposal has to be approved by the full board. If the plan gets the go-ahead, Tar Heels fans could see paid advertising on the goalposts at Kenan Stadium or on the floor of the Smith Center.
Baddour said that no matter the outcome of Thursday's vote, there is one place people will not see any corporate logos.
"Our buildings are named, and we won't be going there," Baddour said.
North Carolina State University uses ads at both Carter-Finley Stadium and the RBC Center, which also is used by the Carolina Hurricanes.You also will see advertising in Duke's Cameron Indoor Stadium.
The schools will not comment on specific numbers but said the ads can bring in anywhere from $500,000 to $200 million a year.