The University of Tennessee announced Tuesday that it will heighten and tighten security measures at Saturday's football game against Louisiana State.
The game, a 7:45 p.m. kickoff at Neyland Stadium, will be the first in Knoxville since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C.
Philip Scheurer, the University's vice president for operations, said the additional measures will serve as a "fine-tuning" of security efforts already in place.
One of the points of the fine-tuning is a precluding of large parcels, such as backpacks and larger purses, Scheurer said. He added that smaller parcels, including stadium cushions or binoculars, would be allowed inside the stadium but will be subject to
search.
"We are asking fans to keep to a minimum anything they bring to the stadium," Scheurer said. "The university will not be responsible for items taken up. We will ask fans to take them back to their cars or to store them elsewhere."
As expected, the Federal Aviation Administration has ensured the security of airspace within a three-mile radius of Neyland Stadium, Scheurer said. This means the elimination of all aircraft above the 104,079 seat facility, including advertising and solic
itation planes.
Scheurer also said parking lots and streets closest to the stadium will see changes, especially as kickoff approaches.
Peyton Manning Pass, Estabrook Drive, Middle and Lower drives on the Hill, and Phillip Fulmer Way from Middle Drive to Tee Martin Drive will all close at 7:30 p.m. People parking in areas G-10, Area 9, and lots 1, 2, 4, 5A and 5B will now be asked to park
in specific, directed spots instead of the open parking policy that has been in place.
Alterations have also been made in the scheduling of pregame activities.
The traditional opening, with the power "T" and the singing of the national anthem, has been changed to allow for a patriotic ceremony, Athletic Director Doug Dickey said. He added that there would also be a patriotic theme in the half-time show.
The Vol Walk will take place at 5:30 p.m., and the stadium will still open two hours prior to kickoff, at 5:45 p.m.
Scheurer said all of the changes are set up to adhere to the requests of fans and the general public. And while not all security logistics were disclosed to avoid "compromising or weakening" enforcement plans, Scheurer said fans could rest assured that th
e issue had been fully examined.
"We met with people from several jurisdictions, including local, state and federal law enforcement, to get their opinions on this," he said, adding that other schools' security policies have also been considered in assessing Neyland.
"Mr. Dickey and his personnel have not only looked at other schools but visited other schools and made some best-case observations that have and will be applied."
With the new measures and the fact that the contest is a night game, fans are advised to arrive at the stadium earlier than normal, Scheurer said.