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UNC Basketball: The 2017 National Championship sign on I-40 has been replaced (for now)

Let’s see how long it takes for another Wolfpack fan to steal this one.

NCAA Basketball Tournament - First Round - Charlotte Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

As some of you may recall, last year the North Carolina Department of Transportation decided that they were going to honor the 2017 NCAA Men’s Basketball National Champion North Carolina Tar Heels by putting up signs across the state. One of these signs, much to NC State’s dismay, was placed right on I-40 in Raleigh. It was a pleasant reminder to UNC fans that their team overcame the heartbreak of the 2016 championship game, only to come back the following year and get redemption.

To NC State fans, however, it was insulting, it was a troll job, it didn’t belong there, cheaters don’t get signs, people that don’t go to class don’t get signs, etc. As a result of all of the salty feelings objections and many threats to take the sign down, a couple of individuals took it upon themselves to steal the sign. It was long thought that the sign probably wouldn’t be replaced, which is fine, because stealing a sign is kind of like stealing a retired player’s jersey: it doesn’t actually make any pain you endured in April of 2017 go away. However, it turns out the DOT decided to do something after all.

Janine Bowen with reported today that the stolen sign for the 2017 champs has been replaced. The sign was reinstalled about two miles from where the previous sign was located, and cost about $1,800 to replace. The particular location was chosen because it can be seen when traveling east from Raleigh-Durham International Airport, which should hopefully discourage more vandalism, according to DOT engineer Joey Hopkins.

“I’m a State graduate. I’m like anybody else, I don’t like the sign, but I think we need to do our job and win our own championship so we can put our own sign up,” Hopkins said.

Hopkins’ recommendation might be a lot harder than he thinks, and it might be why a couple fans thought the better alternative was just to steal public property. NC State hasn’t even won an ACC championship in their major revenue sports in over 20 years, let alone gotten to a national championship game. Maybe they will be able to get something accomplished with their new head coach in basketball, Kevin Keatts, but Duke, Virginia, and North Carolina will likely haunt them until they decide to pull a Maryland and exit the conference.

Until then, the Wolfpack fans across the Triangle will have to settle for seeing the commemorative UNC championship sign whenever they are stuck in the God-awful traffic on I-40. Cheer up, State fans: at least you aren’t under investigation!

..........oh wait.........