Show up to an N.C. high school football game with your torso and face painted and you’ll be told to scrub down, cover up or go home.
This year the N.C. High School Athletic Association banned body painting during regular-season games, an extension of a longstanding ban on such displays during playoffs.
Fans and faculty are still getting word of the new restriction, said Charlotte-Mecklenburg Athletic Director Vicki Hamilton. Small face decorations — “puppy feet on your face,” as Hamilton puts it — are OK. But administrators will ask anyone with too much paint to get rid of it or leave.
For those who insist on their right to bare colorful bellies, the message will be: “we hope you enjoyed the part of the game you saw,” she says. “As far as I’m concerned, it’s not a debatable issue.”
Body paint was banned from playoffs after it smeared upholstery at rented facilities, says NCHSAA official Rick Strunk. The regular-season ban came after some schools said it made sense to be consistent.
There had also been complaints that “paint had gotten on parties who didn’t want paint on them,” Strunk said.
The ban was a disappointment at Charlotte Catholic, where about a dozen guys often show up painted red. But Athletics Director Kevin Christmas said his fans will abide by the rule — and look for other creative ways to express school spirit.
At tonight’s game, for instance, “since we’re playing (Charlotte) Latin they might come in togas.”