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Saturday’s football game between the Vols and the Crimson Tide of the University of Alabama is sold out, which means that fans who purchase tickets from individuals in the area near campus face the risk of counterfeit tickets.

“We received reports from the Florida home game two weeks ago of fans who purchased tickets from vendors along Cumberland Avenue and then could not get into the stadium because the tickets were bad,” said Troy Lane, associate vice chancellor of public safety and chief of the UT Police Department.

“This week I heard from my counterpart at Texas A&M that they also had dozens of reports of counterfeit tickets being sold before the game,” he said.

Lane recommended that fans purchase tickets only from trusted sources such as the UT ticket office, the opponent’s ticket office, or from family and friends.

UT has partnered this year with Vivid Seats to resell tickets to sports events, so tickets are available at that website as well.

Even the most-discerning eye can’t always tell when a ticket is counterfeit, according to UT Associate Athletics Director Joe Arnone, who manages the UT Athletics ticket office.

“Some counterfeiters are so good that they can produce tickets that look almost exactly like the real thing,” he said, “except that it won’t get you in the stadium on Saturday.”

Arnone said even a genuine ticket may not be enough to gain entrance to the stadium.

“If someone loses their ticket and has a replacement reprinted, the original one is invalidated in our computer system, even though it looks for all the world like a real ticket.”

UT officials share the following tips for reducing your chance of buying a counterfeit ticket:

  • Don’t buy from a scalper. Try to buy from an event-goer instead.
  • Ask to take pictures of the seller and his or her driver’s license. If they refuse, the tickets may not be legitimate.
  • Ask the seller to walk with you to the venue entrance before buying. If they hesitate, don’t purchase the tickets.
  • Look at the tickets before handing over your money.
  • Make sure all necessary bar codes are on the tickets and that the tickets don’t all repeat the same serial number.
  • Be willing to walk away. Don’t allow a seller to pressure you into purchasing tickets.


Charles Primm (865-974-5180,