Duke students thinking of trying to sneak in to tonight’s Duke-North Carolina game should think again. This year, blending in with the sea of Cameron Crazies won’t be so easy.
After a number of students snuck into line for last year’s tilt between the two teams by cutting the line or buying imitation wristbands, the line monitors—students who oversee undergraduate entry to the men’s basketball games—have tightened security measures with numbered wristbands.
“We had seen, especially last year with the walkup line, there really wasn’t a fair system for entry, and that there were a bunch of people jumping the line and people were writing numbers on their wristbands,” head line monitor Bradley Baird said. “We sat down and tried to devise a system where it would be much harder for students to replicate wristbands that we had. So, starting a couple of months ago, we put together this numbering system and this design with this type of plastic wristband as opposed to the old paper ones.”
The wristbands required to get into tonight’s were handed out Sunday and stray from the generic colored ones in years past. Not only are they Duke blue plastic with “Duke vs. UNC” and “2/13/13” written on them, but the tenters’ tent number and lineup number amongst their tent is engraved into the royal blue, not simply just drawn on.
“Game operations is bringing extra security to the point that it is going to be significantly harder [to get in this year] than in years past,” Baird said. “Cameron is going to be on lockdown.”
In the past, some students have gone to great lengths to create a wristband indistinguishable from the real thing and simply waltz right into the game.
Mike,* a 2012 Duke graduate, drove around Durham for a few hours with a friend in search of bright yellow wristbands similar to the ones used at the Spring 2011 home game. The duo had missed the cut for white tenting and did not want to do the walkup line, which requires one member from a two-person team being in line at all times. After checking out party stores and convenience stores, the pair found a few passable replicas. The bands they found were only sold in packs of 500, so, paying $25 each, the duo attempted the risky manuever of sneaking into the game.
But the wristbands were only the backup plan. Mike had gotten hold of an old press pass, and Mike’s friend knew a member of the pep band who gave him an extra blue and white striped uniform shirt.
But after scoping out the secured scene outside of Cameron Indoor Stadium on game day, the two hopped into a tent in Krzyzewskiville to re-evaluate the plan they now deemed questionable.
They aborted and went to plan wristband, and with a sharpie, made up a random tent number and lineup number and hopped right in line, wearing masks to seal their identity from the line monitors and other tenters. The men were aware that 12 people were in each tent and any stray members would be looked at skeptically.
“Our plan was to go there and ambush them and run up and cheer as part of the crowd,” Mike said. “Other groups were wondering why we were with their tent so we had to keep shuffling around the line.”
It was not so effortless to make that 40-yard dash from outside Card Gymnasium to the doors of Cameron Indoor Stadium, however. The two men were stopped by a line monitor asking them where the rest of their tent was.
“[When he asked where the rest of our group was,] we said we had been at interviews, and [the line monitor] clearly didn’t believe us so he went and talked to the head line monitor,” Powers said. “Then we got stopped by the head line monitor and we told him that our tent was in there. We still had our masks on…. So he looked at us and kind of just let us through.”
For Mike and his sidekick, the benefit of getting into the game clearly outweighed the cost. For $25 apiece, the two boys not only copped the hottest ticket of the year, but also claimed prime front and center spots in the student section.
“We were fifth row and literally dead center at half court,” Mike said. “I was never happier. I was so pumped.”
Despite the other Cameron Crazies surrounding him who had fared the cold weather, rainy nights and sleep deprivation due to tent checks during the night, Mike said he did not feel too bad because no one ended up being denied entrance into the game from the walkup line that year.
The ultimate goal of the changes this year is to prevent stories just like Mike’s. “We really want to respect the time that tenters have put into this and what the walkup line has put into this. That’s really what it’s all about,” Baird said.
*Name has been changed for the source’s protection.