North Carolina Tar Heels to forgo fans for start of football, fall sports

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Friday, August 28, 2020

North Carolina athletic director Bubba Cunningham says the school will begin football and other fall sports without fans at home games because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In an open letter to fans Friday, Cunningham says the restriction will last through September for football, men's and women's soccer, field hockey, volleyball and cross country. In addition, tailgating won't be allowed on campus.

"This decision was the only way we could move forward with competition," Cunningham says. "Our student-athletes want to play, and we must do so as safely as possible.

Cunningham says the hope is to potentially allow some fans in October, though that would potentially come only after school officials and medical experts evaluate safety conditions. He also says school officials "remain hopeful that we will be able to safely cheer together in large groups again this season."

The school has canceled all in-person undergraduate classes in favor of online-only instruction after multiple coronavirus clusters emerged on campus after students returned for the fall semester.