The Great Hoax

Maybe hoax is not the right word because hoaxes usually have a victim and technically, there were numerous victims of this hoax but unlike most hoaxes, this one had a happy ending.

UNC and N.C. State only played each other one time in basketball during the regular season pg 1946-47. The first game was played in Chapel Hill and State had eaked out a 2 point win. The second game was scheduled for Frank Thompson gym on the campus of N.C. State. A buddy of mine and I usually went to the State games because the State players would leave the shower room window cracked and we would crawl in after they had gone upstairs for pre-game warm ups. The night of the UNC game we went through our usual routine and located seats in the gym but we noticed the stands were unusually crowed and the students continued to pour in until all the seats were taken and they started to sit along side the court. Eventually, a gentleman came to the center of the court with a microphone accompanied by another man who was dressed in a dark blue uniform and military type cap. The announcer told the crowd that the Fire Marshal had determined that the building was occupied beyond capacity and asked all persons without a ticket to please leave. The crowd was already in a frenzy over the game and as expected no one left. After a few more minutes he returned to the center of the floor and announced that the game had been cancelled due to the overcrowding. We all felt he was just trying to get some of us to leave so they could lock the doors and play the game. We were not about to leave. After about 30 minutes it became apparent they were not kidding and the crowd reluctantly left the gym. We still thought they were tricking us and would play the game later. We just did not believe they were going to cancel a State-Carolina basketball game. They never did play the game either that night or later.

Now for the rest of the story. At the time the game was scheduled to be played, Reynolds Coliseum had not been completed. The steel super structure for the Coliseum had stood throughout World War 11 and the school lacked the funds to complete the structure. Immediately after the cancelled game State embarked on a fund raising campaign to complete the Coliseum. Several years later we heard that the cancelled game was set up in advance, the officials correctly deducing that it would serve as a good selling point during the fund raising campaign. After several more years, after all the principals had retired there was a story in the newspaper acknowledging that a set up had occurred. Carolina had a pretty good team that year and lost by 2 points to State in the Southern Conference championship game. Just one night in a multitude of nights that caused a young boy to be a lifetime follower of Carolina and ACC basketball.