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KNOXVILLE — As the countdown continues to Saturday’s start of the 2005 University of Tennessee football season, officials are reminding fans about security measures put in place to keep everyone safe for the first home game of the season.

Kickoff is set for 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday, Sept. 3, as the Tennessee Volunteers host the Blazers of the University of Alabama-Birmingham. University and emergency personnel will provide additional services in the event that heat and humidity are factors.

UT Senior Associate Vice Chancellor Jeff Maples said internal and external security measures will be similar to those of the last few years.

“The safety and security plans UT implemented after September 11, 2001 are still in place,” Maples said, “and we continue to make improvements each year.”

Those attending games should arrive early and not wait until the last minute to enter the stadium, Maples said. Gates open two hours before kickoff.

One problem that stadium security officials face each year, he said, is when people bring items that are prohibited inside Neyland Stadium, and try to leave them outside the gates, which is prohibited.

People often have to walk back to their cars to return the items, which can make them late for the start of the game, Maples said.

All items, including purses, are subject to search.

The list of items that spectators cannot bring to the game includes:

  • alcoholic beverages, cans, bottles or coolers;
  • radios without headphones;
  • open umbrellas;
  • video cameras;
  • stadium seats with arms;
  • large bags or parcels;
  • weapons of any kind.

Fans are allowed to bring the following items inside the stadium:

  • cushions and seats without arms;
  • binoculars, small cameras, pagers, and cell phones;
  • diaper bags that accompany infants.

UT officials have met with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, Maples said, and no major changes are planned in external security this year.

A no-fly zone will be in place over Neyland Stadium, prohibiting flights within a three nautical mile radius and lower than 3,000 feet altitude, from one hour before the game begins until one hour after it ends, except as authorized by air traffic control.

The American Red Cross and the UT Athletics Department will be collecting donations for victims of Hurricane Katrina Saturday, starting at Circle Park before kickoff and moving to outside Neyland Stadium near the end of the game.

Fulmer Way from Middle Drive to Tee Martin Drive, Peyton Manning Pass, Middle and Lower drives and Estabrook Drive will be closed 30 minutes before kickoff. Directional parking will be used in Area 9 and Lot 5.

Jefferson Pilot will televise the game Saturday. The traditional Vol Walk from Gibbs Hall to the stadium starts at 10:15 a.m., and the Pride of the Southland marching band leaves the music building at 10:50 a.m.

With a seating capacity of 104,079, Neyland Stadium is the largest football stadium in the South and the third-largest in the country. Tennessee has averaged 105,176 per game attendance over the past nine seasons, drawing nearly four million fans during that time.

For more information on traveling to Knoxville, visit the UT Mens Athletics Web site at http://utsports.collegesports.com/travel/tenn-travel.html or the Tennessee Department of Transportation Web site at http://www.tdot.state.tn.us/smartfix/jwp/closures.asp.

Jeff Maples (865-974-3061)