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Tar Heel Sports

UNC-Chapel Hill is nicknamed “University of National Champions” for its history of successful athletic teams — basketball, field hockey, lacrosse, soccer and more.

Many students and alumni enjoy attending sports events on campus. As a full-time enrolled graduate student, you are eligible for free admission to all UNC-Chapel Hill sports events with the exception of football and men’s basketball — just show your UNC OneCard for admission.

Football games and men’s basketball games are considered “revenue sports” that require tickets for admission. For these two sports, a limited number of student tickets are distributed for each game through a student ticket lottery. Lottery guidelines change each year.

Visit the Carolina Athletics website to see team rosters and schedules, learn more about student tickets, and get directions to campus athletic venues. Please note that most venues have rules about what can and cannot be brought into the venue.

Sports and Social Work

Carolina Athletics has established wellness as a priority for student athletes, who can be affected by depression, eating disorders, and other conditions. Our School is a partner in fostering wellness for student athletics and has provided Mental Health First Aid training for both student athletics and coaching staff members.

Tar Heel Traditions

UNC-Chapel Hill has a long history of traditions, many of which you’ll see at athletic events. If you’re new to Chapel Hill and to North Carolina, here are a few of the traditions you’ll see on display.

Carolina Blue and White

The official school colors date to the late 1700s, when all students on campus were required to belong to one of two organizations — the Dialectic Society (students from the western half of the state) and the Philanthropic Society (students from the eastern half of the state). Light blue was the color for “Di” and white was the color for “Phi.” The athletic teams, with members from both societies, wore light blue and white uniforms.

Eventually, the two societies merged, and today the “Di-Phi Society” serves as the University’s debate team.


A ram has served as the Carolina mascot since 1924, when a star football player was known as the “battering ram.” Today, you’ll see several versions of “Rameses.”

A live Dorset Horn sheep attends football games, with his horns painted Carolina blue. (There have been more than 20 rams appearing as “Rameses” to date.) Most generations of “Rameses” have been raised by members of the Hogan family, owners of a farm near Chapel Hill.

UNC students also portray the mascot, with costumes for both “Rameses” and “Rameses Jr.” These students are chosen based on their ability to engage sports fans  and create an fun environment at athletic events … without speaking! If you attend an athletic event, you may want to pose with “Rameses” for a selfie.

Tar Heels

The term “Tar Heel” (always two words) dates back to the 1800s, when North Carolina used its wealth of pine trees to become a leading producer of pitch and tar (used to waterproof ships). “Tar Heel” was originally a derogatory term for workers who accumulated tar on their feet. Over time, it became a nickname for all people from North Carolina, just as people from Indiana are nicknamed “Hoosiers” and people from Oklahoma are nicknamed “Sooners.”

Athletic teams from UNC-Chapel Hill have always been called “Tar Heels,” and the campus newspaper is named “The Daily Tar Heel” (or “DTH”).

“Hark The Sound”

Although UNC-Chapel Hill recognizes several school songs, “Hark The Sound” is best known and most loved. You will hear it at commencement, after athletic events, and at other campus activities.

You can read the lyrics and listen to two versions (marching band and glee club) on the UNC Music Library website.