UNC and Duke being unranked for their rivalry game didn’t stop fans in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, from celebrating a little more than school officials were hoping to see.
UNC topped its archrival 91-87 on Saturday behind 25 points from freshman point guard Caleb Love. It was a high point in a quiet season for UNC, and the students acted accordingly despite messages from their school urging them to not rush Franklin Street:
Social distancing, that is not.
Per CBS 17, the crowd was short-lived, dispersing by around 9 p.m. ET. Chapel Hill police spokesman Ran Northam reportedly said no one was cited for COVID-19 violations, or an apparent bonfire at the scene:
HAPPENING NOW: UNC fans pack Franklin Street to celebrate the win against Duke.
University officials encouraged students NOT to gather because of the ongoing pandemic. @WRAL #wral pic.twitter.com/1QQ3UmxEDm
— Aaron Thomas (@WRALAaron) February 7, 2021
Someone has started a fire pic.twitter.com/L2gJL7JnVX
— Claire Perry (@sclaire_perry) February 7, 2021
It appears most students at least wore marks as they congregated on the street. Not everyone did.
The scene was reminiscent of Notre Dame fans storming the football field after topping No. 1 Clemson last year. That night set off plenty of alarm bells, but fortunately it did not lead to a scary spike in cases on campus in South Bend.
Per UNC’s own numbers, there have been 610 cumulative positive COVID-19 cases detected going back to January 2021, so the pandemic remains a presence on campus.
UNC chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz wasn’t amused by the sight, promising the school would investigate the incident and “pursue consequences.”
I know many Tar Heels enjoy rushing Franklin Street to celebrate a big win, but we are in the middle of a global pandemic, and COVID doesn’t take a break for the Duke game. We will investigate this incident and work with local authorities to pursue consequences.
— Kevin Guskiewicz (@KevinGuskiewicz) February 7, 2021
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