This morning’s cool weather may have sparked some to wonder whether fall has arrived. Autumn is more than a month away, but fall sports—think football—is a mere two weeks away for UNC Tar Heel fans! May’s “Artifact of the Month” highlighted the contributions to the game by Carolina’s cheerleaders. This month we salute the members of UNC Cardboard, students who planned and executed card stunts during halftime at home football games. Norman Sper, a UNC cheerleader in the class of ’50, brought the tradition to Carolina in 1948 after admiring the card shows at UCLA. For a few decades in the mid to late twentieth century, students sitting in the lower deck on Kenan Stadium’s south side flipped colored cards to make designs and spell out words. By the early 1950s more than 2,000 students participated in the stunts, and UNC’s card section was believed to be the largest in the eastern United States.
This navy jacket was awarded for service to F. Marion Redd ’67, who led the club during the 1966-67 academic year. According to Redd, club leaders preplanned stunts on grid paper and hand stamped and placed all instruction cards underneath stadium seats the evening before the game
UNC Cardboard was an official student organization and was funded by the Carolina Athletic Association. It’s unclear when or why Cardboard stopped performing stunts. In the late 1960s there were several occasions when students hurled cards at the end of games, injuring other fans. These incidents left University administrators threatening to pull the plug on card stunts at football games. Perhaps one of our readers can offer more details on the demise of UNC Cardboard?