The Department of Athletics highlights the athletic and academic achievements of student-athletes and provides timely athletics-related information to members of the UNC community and the media.
13.0 Communications, Marketing & Promotions
Athletic Communications serves as the storytelling arm of the Department of Athletics and Athletic Marketing promotes each of Carolina’s 28 intercollegiate teams.
13.1 Department of Athletics Marketing and Promotions
Athletic Marketing and Promotions leverages UNC’s brand to promote its 28 intercollegiate teams, increase ticket sales and grow revenue for the Department of Athletics. Their efforts include sports marketing, campus engagement, attendance and interest. They coordinate a number of initiatives that provide direct impact to student-athletes, non-athlete students, faculty and staff, including the Rammys, a faculty and staff newsletter, and Carolina Fever, a free student-fan program sponsored by Wells Fargo.
UNC Trademark Licensing is managed by UNC Auxiliary Services and a Department of Athletics liaison. Since 2005-06, 100% of UNC Trademark Licensing revenue goes to non-athlete student scholarships for UNC students. Of these scholarships, about 75% are need-based and 25% are merit-based. UNC Trademark Licensing Net Income in FY 17-18 was $5.2M (boosted by incremental revenue from the 2017 MBB National Championship) and $4.0M in FY 18-19.
13.2 Department of Athletics Communications
Athletic Communications highlights the athletic and academic achievements of student-athletes and provides timely athletics-related information to members of the UNC community and the media. They serve as the information-sharing arm of the Department of Athletics and use a number of media platforms—print, social media (i.e. UNC basketball’s twitter account has the most followers of any college basketball team in the country), and website (goheels.com).
Athletic Communications consists of approximately 12 full-time employees and is organized around UNC’s 28 intercollegiate teams. An Athletic Communications contact for each team serves as their media and public relations contact and reports on student-athletes’ activities and accomplishments on the playing field and in the classroom. Athletic Communications also serves as the public relations contact for the entire Department of Athletics, and as Carolina’s source of athletics information to entities outside of the University.
From its beginnings, Athletic Communications has been at the forefront of college athletics promotion through internet and social media. UNC was first to hire additional writers to generate online content specifically for its athletics website. This approach allows UNC to share athletics news quickly, accurately and proactively. Athletic Communications works closely with UNC’s GoHeels Productions Department, especially with its online platforms when video helps tell a story.
Athletic Communications provides reporting on a variety of athletics topics, including student-athletes’ achievements in athletic competitions (e..g, Field Hockey, Men’s Basketball); student-athletes’ outstanding achievements in the classroom (Four Tar Heels Earn ACC Postgraduate Honors, Sixteen Tar Heel Teams Exceed National Graduation Success Rate) and involvement in the community (UNC Women Share Sports with Young Tar Heels, Reading Day Impacts Both College and Elementary Students); and student-athlete alumni and their continued connections with UNC (My Carolina Experience: Haley Hemm (Women’s Tennis, UNC class of 2012); My Carolina Experience: Bobby Rome (Football, UNC class of 2009); Soccer Star on President’s Delegation to the World Cup (Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak, Women’s Soccer, UNC class of 1999); Green Joins Elite Tar Heel Group (Danny Green, Basketball, UNC class of 2009); Phil Ford Foundation Professorship of Pediatrics (Phil Ford, Basketball, UNC class of 1978).
Athletic Communications works closely with the University’s Communications and Public Affairs office to share athletics stories. Additionally, Athletic Communications sends regular email updates (bi-weekly during the academic year, monthly during the summer), “Latest from Loudermilk,” to the UNC campus community regarding various student-athlete achievements such as academic honors, awards, scholarships, etc.
There are numerous sources of college athletics information—those officially affiliated with universities (e.g., goheels.com) and those entirely unaffiliated (e.g., insidecarolina.com). National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) rules prevent Athletic Communications from posting any recruiting related news or information on its website. NCAA and Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) rules restrict Athletic Communications from sharing identifiable information about student-athletes. Further, goheels.com does not include message boards for visitors.
GoHeels.com has always been one of the most widely viewed college websites in the country. Athletic Communications has recently hired a digital media coordinator and a designer to further enhance the site’s storytelling capabilities.
13.3 Celebrating and Communicating the Academic Achievements of Student-Athletes
The Department of Athletics shares timely news regarding student-athletes’ academic achievements via a weekly email to UNC faculty and staff, Total Tar Heel Digest.
Athletics also highlights student-athletes’ academic achievements by recognizing student-athletes who earn ACC Honor Roll status and are named to Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and NCAA Academic All-American teams.
13.3.1 Student-Athlete Academic Awards and Scholarships
The Academic Support Program for Student-Athletes (ASPSA) and the Department of Athletics honor elite scholar athletes at its annual Scholar-Athlete Awards Banquet. The banquet is held annually and is separate from the Department of Athletics’ Rammys and Carolina Leadership Academic Recognition Banquet. The Scholar-Athlete Awards committee is chaired by a staff member in the ASPSA and includes members of the Department of Athletics, the ASPSA and the Faculty Athletics Representative (FAR). The committee identifies and nominates outstanding student-athletes for numerous academic awards, scholarships and internships, both internal and external to UNC, including:
- Tar Heel Scholar-Athletes
- Top Ten Scholar-Athletes
- NCAA Elite 90
- ACC Scholar-Athlete of the Year
- ACC Academic Honor Roll
- All-ACC Academic Teams
- Athletic Director’s Scholar-Athletes
- ACC Weaver-James-Corrigan Postgraduate Scholarships
- Phi Beta Kappa
- Golden Fleece
- NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships
- ACC Futures Internship Program
- ACC Jim Tatum Award