CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A group of fans and alumni from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte are rejoicing now that a roadside sign honoring another university is being moved away from the UNC Charlotte campus.
The sign popped up late last week. It honors the 2017 national championship won by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's men's basketball team. It currently sits on the side of I-85 in between the Harris Boulevard and Mallard Creek Church Road exits. The sign is very close to the UNCC campus.
The placement of the sign has irked supporters of the Charlotte 49ers.
"That kind of riled some feathers, got us a little worked up and we decided we ought to do something about this," said Rob Dibble, a founder of The First 49 alumni group.
Dibble said that one of his friends texted him about the sign after seeing it on the side of the road last week. They immediately started trying to figure out why a sign honoring another school was so close to the UNC Charlotte campus.
"I know that Chapel Hill graduates and fans are proud of their achievement and more power to them, but it doesn't belong near our campus, it belongs somewhere else," said Dibble Tuesday night.
He said that many 49er fans have grown to resent the UNC label that comes with their university's name. Some fans reached out to the DOT to express their concerns regarding the sign.
"We feel like we've grown as a university where we can stand on our own. We don't need the UNC tag anymore," said Dibble.
Jen Thompson, communications officer with the North Carolina Department of Transportation, said the DOT received several inquiries about the sign since it was erected last week.
She said the sign's placement was an oversight and that the DOT didn't put the sign close to the UNC Charlotte campus on purpose. Thompson said the original plan was to place the sign near Concord or Kannapolis, but construction prevented that from happening.
The DOT communications officer said UNC-Chapel Hill paid for eight of the signs to be placed across the state. She said they cost $2000 a piece and will be left standing for two years.
Thompson said the sign near UNC Charlotte's campus will now be moved to a location along I-77 in southern Mecklenburg County.
Dibble said he is happy that the alumni were able to get the sign moved.
"It tells me that we are starting to make those inroads, that those 80,000 alumni are proud of who we are and what we can be."
Thompson said that DOT crews will begin removing the sign Wednesday.