As part of NIL opportunity, UNC basketball team will scrimmage ahead of football opener

·2 min read
Robert Willett/rwillett@newsobserver.com

North Carolina’s season opener in football on Aug. 27 will now offer a chance for a first glimpse — however unofficial — of the men’s basketball team too.

The Tar Heels will have an autograph session and then an informal Blue-White scrimmage at 4 p.m. at the Dean E. Smith Center before the football team takes on Florida A&M at Kenan Stadium at 8 p.m.

The format for the basketball event is still being finalized, but it won’t be like the typical Blue-White scrimmages of the past. This is a name, image and likeness (NIL) opportunity for the players to be compensated. It is not run by the university, in fact event organizers have to rent the Smith Center out in order to play there.

Greg Lazaroff, the vice president of NIL initiatives at G3 Marketing, said the idea was conceived when ProCamps ran the Carolina Fantasy Experience basketball camp.

“We had a lot of success with the Carolina Fantasy Experience in June and when we were with the team, we talked about doing some sort of public facing event,” said Lazaroff, who is operating the event on behalf of ProCamps. “Talking with the student-athletes, this concept of doing some autographs and then hopefully doing some sort of an open run/scrimmage made sense because they’re practicing everyday anyway. So let’s see what we can do and introduce the fans with the first time they can see the team.”

A few things will stand out about the scrimmage. Hubert Davis and the UNC coaching staff will not be involved with it. That’s why the actual scrimmage portion may delve into being played like a glorified pickup game. The players will not be wearing those trademark argyle patterns either, they are not allowed to wear any North Carolina-branded gear as per NIL rules.

Tickets for the autograph session, which will take place in the practice gym, are $150 and include admission for two for the autographs and the scrimmage. General admission tickets for the scrimmage only are $12 and must be purchased in advance. There will be no walk-up sales at the box office.

Lazaroff said the complete UNC roster has agreed to participate in the event. Newcomers like graduate transfer Pete Nance and freshman Seth Trimble will make their debut with the Heels. It will be the first game Carolina has played in public since losing to Kansas in the national championship game in April.