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Roy Hits Midseason Call-in Show Form

That sound you hear emanating from Chapel Hill is Steve Kirschner ripping his hair out…again.

Last night on Roy Williams Live, the Tar Heel coach went on another one of his rants which has become a annual rite of passage in basketball season. In this one, Roy expressed dissatisfaction with members of the Ram’s Club selling their tickets behind the bench to UNLV fans in Las Vegas.

The intoxicated fan yelling behind the bench, Roy Williams can shrug that off. The exuberant fan who pushes a team manager in celebration, Williams can understand how that happens. Selling prime tickets to the opposing team, Williams isn’t so forgiving.

During Williams’ radio show Monday hosted by Jones Angell, Williams called UNC fans who hocked their seats in Las Vegas to UNLV fans out.

“I am not friendly with anybody else on the other team and for some of our fans to get their tickets through the Ram’s Club and sell their tickets to UNLV boosters that are sitting right behind our families, I don’t like that,” Williams said. “And if the shoe fits, wear it. I don’t care who it is, I’ll tell the sucker face-to-face, I do not like that, will not like that and don’t ever forget it…”

As he continued, Williams went as far as to tell those fans who sell prime UNC tickets to simply stay home.

“Do not come back to my games. Don’t act like you’re supporting us,” Williams said. “Don’t act like you’re supporting us by showing up. If all you’re going to do is sit there and be so negative and yell negative things and say negative things beside one of our coaches’ wives…”

Roy did say that “99 percent” of the UNC faithful were at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas for the right reasons during a 90-80 loss to UNLV that led to the Tar Heels’ fall from the nation’s No. 1 ranking.

But in case Williams didn’t get his point across the first time on his radio show, he offered a reiterating parting shot.

“… it bothers me more about some sucker – and I don’t care, if it ticks somebody off, that’s fine – if you sell your tickets that you get from the Ram’s Club to somebody else and they come in cheering for UNLV, then I’ve got no use for you,” Williams said. “And that’s as blunt as I can put it.”

Good Ol’ Roy.

If you have been paying attention Roy has been harping on Ram’s Club members for years. He doesn’t like that they show up late, really don’t cheer that loudly and leave early. During the early games, you might not even see them show up at all. In 2008 for a game versus NC State in Chapel Hill, someone sold their tickets which happened to be directly across from the Tar Heel bench. In the postgame press conference Roy was not happy he had Wolfpack clad fans directly in his line of sight and said he was going to find the people who owned the tickets to those seats and buy them. Generally speaking Roy complains, at least once a season, about attendance and when fans show up, leave and what not.

While it is probably not a good idea to call your own fans out, it is important to understand where Roy is coming from. Roy spent 15 years at Kansas and anyone who has ever been to Allen Fieldhouse knows the place rocks during a home game. Having had that experience Roy probably wishes(correctly so) that the Dean Dome would be similarly raucous for games. Now, the Dean Dome crowd does have its moments such as playing Ohio St. in Chapel Hill in November, 2006 or any game versus Duke. However the “wine and cheese” reputation that Sam Cassell tagged UNC fans with all the way back in 1992 is tough to shake. Roy’s frustration with members of the Ram’s Club is somewhat justified because the home crowd can be such an advantage. Instead you get a large group of people who don’t really bring the noise as much as you see at other schools.

In the instance Roy is referring to here, I am having trouble finding much wrong with his basic point. If you are a member of the Ram’s Club with tickets behind the bench, you probably shouldn’t sell them to a fan from the opposing team. Conversely if you are the fan of an opposing team seated in a section reserved for UNC fans, you should probably be less vocal than you might be otherwise. The point is, selling your tickets to an opposing fan and putting them within earshot of your team’s bench is a bad move for a fan and certainly does not help the team. Now if Roy is upset at UNC fans yelling “negative things” behind the bench, I think he needs to develop thicker skin though if you are within earshot of the bench you probably should exercise some discretion about the things you say, especially to your own team.

In essence Roy is on the right side of the issue. The problem you have here is whether (1) he should be complaining about it publicly and (2) the fact Ram’s Club members sink a ton of coin into the University. Roy’s filter or lack of one has created these little fires as long as he’s been at UNC. Putting him on a call-in show where he is interacting with the fans directly might not be the best choice but given the money involved for Roy and Learfield Sports, it probably is never going away. Unfortunately for Steve Kirschner, Roy doesn’t self-censor his comments on much of anything. There are times he opts to stop talking about something and maybe this should have been on of those cases. Like it or not, Roy wears most of his feeling on his sleeve which can be both refreshing and terrifying all at the same time.

The rub here is the people Roy is complaining about are big money donor who pour millions of dollars into the athletic program. While Roy can pine for a better atmosphere in the Dean Dome and beg ticket holders to show up early, cheer loud and stay to the bitter end, the current seating system will never change. Simply look at this benefits chart from the Ram’s Club. Even getting consideration for basketball season tickets will cost you $5000 per year. You other options are $17,160 annually or $500,000 over five years. This is where the lower level seats come in and in most cases the people who are dropping that kind of cash for Dean Dome seats are you old money, blue blood variety who spend more time at the game discussing their recent trip to the Bahamas than the game itself. It is what it is and no amount of complaining Roy does about Ram’s Club members will ultimately matter.

I do think fans who have season tickets should be more circumspect about who they give access to and their commitment to being more active at the game. There are many of us who would show up, cheer loudly and cleanly for UNC but don’t have the means to do so. Selling your tickets to an opposing fan and putting them close to the UNC bench strikes me as a particularly egregious “fan sin” to commit given players’ and coaches’ families also sit there. While making a public issue of this shows Roy’s PR blindspot a bit, at least he doesn’t have Wanda sitting there yelling at opposing fans like the wife of a certain coach eight miles down the road.

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28 comments to Roy Hits Midseason Call-in Show Form

  • Megaraptor

    I agree with Roy 100%. UNC fans and especially STUDENTS need to show more dedication. Sometimes it is downright disgraceful.

    Whoever we get as a football coach will need to take some steps to correct this as well. It’s even worse for football games.

  • DfromFlorida

    OK, just got home from Las Vegas. Trip was perfect except for the UNLV game. I don’t know about the Rams club tickets but I do know that our tickets were royally screwed up. We booked and stayed at the Orleans just so we could get the best seats in the NC section. What I was given (at first) were tickets at the end of the court that was populated with UNLV (rabid) fans. After another trip to the ticket office I was told that the hotel and the ticket office didn’t sync the value level of the tickets so even though I ordered the highest price I received the lowest price. The tickets were exchanged and we ended up with very good seats just six rows back but not in the NC section. Wonder how many people got screwed on that fiasco.
    One word about the game. We watched the end of the UNLV game on Friday and I got a really bad feeling about playing them. They were big and physical and really shooting a high percentage against U of Southern Cal (we only watched the last 8 minutes of that games, though). During warmup of our game on Saturday, they could not miss a shot. EVERY player was shooting a high percentage during warmups and the queasy feeling grew. It seemed like every shot went in even in warmups. I did watch PJ Hairston hit 6 3s in a row during the warmup and he may have hit more that that because I was busy scoping the competition. Anyway, didn’t ruin my weekend but sure was hoping it would turn out better. Now on to the rest of the season.

  • 52bgJ

    I don’t have a problem with what he said. Who wouldn’t want to punch out a fat-a**drunk loudmouth, right after a disappointing loss no less. Maybe the Rams Club ought to look into putting Joe Kapp on a stipend for road games?

  • I think the problem melts down what also makes the Dean Dome unique. At most other schools (now) you see the big money donors sitting in the luxury boxes and suites built in the mid-level of the arena, which allows students and rowdier fans to get closer to the action. That doesn’t really exist at the Dean Dome, which is something we, rightfully, celebrate; That is to say, we didn’t need a corporate-built arena. But as a result, those quieter fans are closer to the seats.

    Now, that doesn’t explain why it’s so much different at the Phog since, to the best of my knowledge, they don’t have luxury boxes, but then, they also made a more concerted effort to put the students together in one, giant cluster, whereas ours are spread around the arena.

    But that’s just my opinion.

  • mrn10sdave

    Roy’s lack of PR awareness/concern is refreshing to me. We’re living in a time where CNN and ESPN get coaches fired.

    As usual, he’s right. I bought season tickets in the nosebleeds for the last two years, and the lower sections are usually too empty at the beginning and end of games. A lot of the seats never get filled during cupcakes (apparently they can’t be bothered to just give the tickets away to other UNC fans).

    It also befuddles me how scalpers end up with Ram’s Club tickets standing outside the Dean Dome.

  • AZACCFan

    UNC did not play well against Wake Forest when they had second consecutive loss in 08-09 season. That game was in Winston Salem and the crowd was partisan for WFU.

    To have a second poor showing against Wisconsin is certainly conceivable, especially if Barnes cannot play. Certainly there are plenty of other very good players, but starting a freshman is always hard.

    It will be interesting to see what they have learned. The PG match up will be interesting as they (Marshall and Jordan Taylor) share the same designation, but are very different players.

    Jordan is pick and roll and can dominate as in last February when he destroyed the then invulnerable Ohio State team in one 15 minute time period. (Remember no time outs if this starts to happen).

    The two of them have been to the same camps this summer and know each other well. However, Strickland should be guarding Jordan.

    It will be absolutely essential for UNC to come out charging from the opening jump ball and not give up a lead and momentum. I hope they have learned from the UNLV game about this, although it happened way too often last year.

    When your opponents know your weaknesses and continue to exploit them, it makes things very painful.

  • Moustache

    If Zeller and Henson cared as much about protecting the rock and attacking the rim as Roy did about protecting the home seats and attacking derelict FatCats, the Heels would be unstoppable.


    Bucky will go 11-19 on 3 point shots tonight.

  • AZACCFan

    I wish there were a reliable way to get the players psyched for the start of games and second halves.

    Zeller for example often takes a while to seem as engaged as he should be. Often he gets energized after taking a few unfortunate fouls or if he gets off to a good start scoring inside.

  • PRGuy

    Obviously, we don’t know the specifics of this situation but I think StubHub and other Internet sites makes it very easy to re-sell tickets without knowing who gets them. They could go to a fan of your team or your opponent’s. Or maybe tickets are given to a friend/family member who in turn re-sells them. You just don’t know.

  • smallandpettypat

    ^^Maybe Roy should have someone from Blue Steel “foul” the hell out of Zeller in the first few minutes of the game. Twice.

  • AZACCFan

    Asking ticket holders to act responsibly is inherent for any event. Ultimately it is at their discretion and not for a coach to decide.

    The best way to ensure support is for the team to succeed. If you attend a public event in an open seat there is no guarantee of the behavior of those around you. There may be an expectation of behavior and a reasonable standard of what an opposing fan would do if near an opponent’s bench. But making a huge issue is also going to encourage those who would enjoy making a spectacle.

  • TheUNCFan

    You know you’ve made it when you can say things to make big-money donors mad and get away with it because they know you’re going to win them another national championship.

  • AZACCFan

    This one should be required viewing for Zeller to maybe get his blood pressure up as Plumlee mentions getting ready to play their FIRST away game tonight, how well he is playing and HOW MUCH HE ENJOYS BANGING AROUND INSIDE.


  • chapelhillfan

    As is typical, Roy is largely right but needs to keep his mouth shut. I don’t like the atmosphere at the Dean Dome just like everyone else (can’t tell you how many times I screamed at blue bloods to stand up while in school 20 years ago) but the fact of the matter is this: They paid for the seats and they frankly can do pretty much whatever they want to do with them despite Roy’s whining. He should be complaining to the administration. Plus, as someone else alluded, I’m not sure Roy has one ounce of evidence that someone directly sold their tickets to an opposing team. That just may be whomever purchased the tickets off StubHub or some other outlet, and the seller had no real choice about the buyer. I do find it despicable it you make a direct sell to a fan of the opponent.

  • gso_tarheel

    Kinda hard for me to fault Roy on this one. As THF mentioned, this type of incident is probably made worse for Roy because he coaches one of the greatest programs in college basketball history, in a historic and vast dome, in front of a half-asleep crowd!!!!

    I’d be damn pissed too! When I was a student, I remember many lower level elites looking up at us when we screaming and going nuts like, “Can you calm down sonny?” WTF? I have never understood how a top 25 university and a top 3 basketball program cannot figure out how to have a great home crowd in the Dean Dome. Inexcusable.

    Last thing I will add. Roy must not be THAT powerful as I am sure he has said plenty behind closed doors to the powers that be. But nothing has changed. As much as I hate it, Sam Cassell was exactly right…and still is.

  • AZACCFan

    More student presence closer to the floor is a recipe for a louder crowd. Playing games in Carmichael Auditorium also helps. When the team was forced to use Carmichael for the 2010 NIT, everyone loved it.

    Except those who did not get a seat. Or if you had to turn down your hearing aids.

  • 52bgJ

    agreed gso, and I hate to say this, but is the “wine & cheese” meme, a metaphor for how we play as well?? worth considering…

  • marcus62660

    Sounds like Roy probably is a little out of touch with how the real ticket bizz operates. The game was played in Vegas…who does he think is going to snap up those good seats when they’re made available on the internet? I seriously doubt any Rams club member searched for UNLV supporters to take their seats. It’s hard to believe that nobody was able to school him a little bit before his verbal up-chucking on the radio last night.

  • plibt

    the dean dome is too big. Even for women’s games (which are great by the way!) when the carmichael is only max 70% full when it’s not duke/maryland/uconn it can get pretty darn loud. It’s all about size. Nobody can sell 21,000 tickets to for 9 home games in a row against cupcakes. Just isn’t going to happen. Also, because student tickets are easy to come by they are not as valuable, and student who do go end up being less into it (unless they are already diehards) because they didn’t have to fight for tickets and aren’t centrally located

  • faustus1500

    I went to the Las Vegas as well. I actually bought my tickets separately through the ticket office. My tickets were in Cal Poly section. They were great. Some of the parents allowed me to move up to the second row. I was very close to the action despite being at an angle from the basket.

    I think the fact that Ram’s Club members sold their tickets further promotes the notion that we are a wine and cheese crowd. I guarantee Kansas, Duke, or Kentucky boosters would not have given up those tix so easily.

  • faustus1500


    I think a great example is Illinois’ Assembly Hall. The students are closer to the court, and the old money corpses are behind them trying not to fall asleep and drool all over themselves.

  • AZACCFan

    Williams was at it again in presser today. Not contrite at all.

  • partsman5521

    I just read on the rams club site that there is a way to turn your unused rams club tickets back in and receive a bonus for doing so. The site states that the tickets would go to unc fans who would value them. Looking at this situation that way, then Roy has a right to be mad when he See’s opponents fans in the choice seats. Lets be thankful we have a coach who stands up for his beliefs and not hide behind them because of who he might upset……

  • HeelYeah

    IMO, if you can afford fat cat seats then you can afford to give ones you don’t use away to a deserving UNC fan who might not ordinarily get good seats. If you can lay down the kind of money that buys the lower level seats in the Dean Dome, then you don’t need to be reselling them to scalpers or StubHub.

    And selling/giving them to an opposing fan? Hell no. I’ve got season tix to football and one of my friends who has tix near me has given his away to a friend from an opposing school (or invited them along to a game). It pisses me and my wife off to no end. I’ve got close family members that went to State and they’ve asked me to take them to a State-UNC game. I said I love you but not that much. I’d rather eat an extra ticket than sell it to a scalper or opposing fan. And I literally mean eat it. There is NO EXCUSE for fans to spend the time, effort, and money to get to a game and then sit on their ass the whole time. That is just idiotic, they should just stay home.

    That’s what I don’t understand about the Blue Zone. Bad viewing angle & much more expensive. But wait, folks can go inside at will and watch TV and eat! Whoopie! Why not just go to a bar?

  • chaucer1350

    I scored some excellent seats in the Dean Dome for a December game last year (W&M), prime Rams Club territory, comped courtesy of a business connection.

    The six seats behind us gave me every indication this was habitual for them, so I do not think they were also just filling in. Observations:

    1 - They showed up late.
    2 - They started complaining about every member of the team from the outset - not just Drew. Incredibly negative.
    3 - Started dropping F-bombs when things tightened up. My 9 year old and his best friend turned and stared at them, which got the two women in the party to make faces at them (not friendly) in return.
    4 - I threatened to get security, given there were two 4 or 5 year olds a couple of rows down. That eliminated the profanity, but not the running commentary, which made it much more difficult for anyone around them to have a good time.
    5 - We moved in the second half after explaining the situation to a sympathetic staffer. Our seats weren’t as prime, but we enjoyed ourselves.

    Rams Club members have serious entitlement issues, and it goes straight back to the AD. UNC does not need some of these jokers. The waiting list for season tickets has to be a mile long.

  • Silent Sam

    Not trying to be antagonistic, but I think Sam Cassell said, “cheese and wine crowd” rather than the other way around. http://www.lib.unc.edu/ncc/ref/unc/cq/cassell.html

  • teddyjackeddy

    I agree with Roy 1000% if these chumps have got so much money then eat the tickets rather than give or sell them to opposing fans. Nothing bothers me any more than seeing some dumb @ss wolfpecker fans in seats I know belong to Ram’s Clubbers. Show some loyalty , anybody caught selling their tickets and opposing fans get hold of them should be penalized. There will always be somebody new waiting for the good seats.