UT kicks off season opener Saturday with noticeable game day changes

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Texas Longhorns kicks off their season tomorrow against UTEP, but this season there will be some noticeable changes for students, season ticket holders and suite visitors all in an effort to keep fans safe.

This year the roar of the crowd won’t be as loud at Darrell K Royal Texas Memorial Stadium as COVID-19 restrictions mean fewer fans will raise their horns in the stadium.

According to the University of Texas athletics department, there will be about 18,000 people in attendance at the game with about 3,000 spots open for students.

Students will be able to sit in groups no larger than 10 people with separate groups and individuals being spaced out.

Longtime fan Ross Barksdale believes the new safety policies like social distance markers inside and outside the stadium, wearing masks and hand sanitizer stations will help keep fans safe.

“I am sure they are doing a good job of keeping everything clean like everyone else is,” Barksdale said.

Things will look different in suites as well. According to suite holders, they will only have tickets for the number of seats in the suites, usually there is standing room for guests.

The university has posted a list of their polices and rules for fans to look over before Saturday’s game.

As far as policy enforcement, UT Austin Police said it will try to gain voluntary compliance with any possible rule-breakers.

“Should UTPD encounter a tailgating violation on UT property, officers will first seek to educate and gain voluntary compliance. Any person refusing to leave after being directed by a university official, will be subject to criminal trespass charges. We hope it doesn’t come to that. This approach has proven to be a successful strategy in securing compliance and maintaining mutual trust and respect between the community and UTPD,” said Assistant Vice President for Campus Security and Chief of Police David Carter in a statement.

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