AUSTIN (KXAN) — Game days around the University of Texas campus will look different this season.
The Big 12 Conference is moving forward with a 10-game football season with nine conference games and one non-conference game. The season is expected to end with a Big 12 Conference championship game tentatively set for Dec. 12 with the possibility to reschedule to Dec. 19.
Even without a Big Ten and Pac-12 season, the remaining “Power 5” conferences, the Big 12, SEC and ACC, are planning to play a College Football Playoff and national championship among the teams competing during the fall season.
Tailgating and Gameday
The Longhorns open the season on Saturday at 7 p.m. with its non-conference game against UTEP in Darrell K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium with a maximum of 25% capacity in the stands. The stadium holds around 100,000 people at capacity, but UT is expecting an estimated 18,000 people to watch from inside. Seating arrangements will be socially distanced.
Face coverings are required inside and around the stadium.
Outside of the stadium, tailgating will not be allowed in and around the campus. Bevo Boulevard, the popular pregame destination that runs along San Jacinto Street, will not take place this season. All other fan attractions, like Longhorn City Limits and the Stadium Stampede, have also been postponed for this season.
UT says these decisions were made to prevent crowding and allow for easier entry into the stadium. Stadium gates will open at 5 p.m. Saturday.
Parking in the official UT gameday lots and garages on campus will be restricted to ticketholders and staff with permits, according to Texas Athletics.
Parking lots will open at 7 a.m. on most game days or 6 a.m. for 11 a.m. kickoffs. No overnight parking will be permitted.
ADA parking can be found at the UT Athletics website.
There’s a new designated “airport-style” rideshare dropoff/pickup location on the south curb of Dean Keeton Street between Robert Dedman Drive and Red River Street. UT says there will be rideshare signage along the way.
Inside the Stadium
Texas is using mobile-ticketing to get inside the stadium and cashless transactions for all food and alcohol sales, so be sure that you’re phone is charged before heading to the stadium.
UT students who purchased the Big Ticket package, which provides access to all UT football, volleyball, soccer, basketball, baseball, softball games and Texas Relays, will have to take a complimentary but mandatory COVID-19 test on Friday.
Testing will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Bellmont Hall Ticket Office Lobby located inside Gate 4 of Memorial Stadium. Student Big Ticket holders will have to fill out a consent form before being tested and present a UT student ID.
The Longhorn Band won’t perform or be in the stadium during the season opener against UTEP. The school says there’s simply not enough known about the transmission of COVID-19 “with instrumentalists performing in close proximity, when outdoors.”
However, Texas cheer and pom, Hook ‘Em, Bevo and Smokey the Cannon will still be at the games. Megaphones will not be used by the cheer squads.
UT says all in-game giveaways and promotions have been stopped for this season to prevent interaction within the stadium.
On the Field
The team area and benches on the field have been expanded to provide additional protection for the team.
Texas Longhorns players and staff will be tested for COVID-19 three times a week leading up to each game. The last test of the week will be Friday just 24 hours before kickoff.
While on the sidelines, staff and players, who aren’t currently playing, will be required to wear masks.