The UT Athletic Department and UTPD are stressing ticket-buying awareness and ticket security for all Tennessee football fans.
UTPD Special Operations Lt. Emily Simerly said they deal with lost or stolen tickets far more often than counterfeit tickets.
Joe Arnone, associate athletics director for ticket operations, said that for any given game, between 50 and 100 tickets on average will be reported lost or stolen.
"For those instances, we reprint their tickets for them," Arnone said. "For the bigger games, the original tickets show up at the stadium, so with the setup we have now, we're dealing with two different parties after they're in the stadium. Obviously, the other person purchased their tickets through an unauthorized source."
The problem is that it is usually very difficult to track down where these tickets are coming from.
"Scalping is legal here, so people will buy tickets from scalpers, and the tickets turn out to be bad," Simerly said.
Arnone said that in his four years with UT, he has only seen two incidents of a person actually creating his or her own counterfeit tickets, rather than stealing real ones and trying to either enter the stadium with them or scalp them outside of the stadium.
The game against the University of Florida in 2006 presented a major problem.
"We probably had about 50 counterfeit season tickets where you could not tell the difference between the actual tickets and the counterfeit ones," Arnone said. "All of those tickets that we confiscated had sections, rows and seats located in the student section."
Authorities have also experienced issues with counterfeit tickets at other games.
"In '07 against Georgia, we had an incident where we found that several tickets were counterfeited, because they were part of the seats we gave Georgia in their allotment," Arnone said.
Simerly said the tickets have security features that are updated every year in attempts to prevent counterfeiting.
"They've made some watermark features on the football tickets that are harder to recreate, but the average person buying a ticket off the street may not be aware of the security features until they reach the gate and the usher realizes it's not a legitimate ticket," Simerly said.
Arnone said the ticket department is currently working on implementing scanning systems similar to those used at Thompson-Boling Arena.
"For the last three or four years, we've wanted to get access management up and running at Neyland Stadium, but we're holding off until next year because of all of the construction going on," he said.
For students, counterfeit tickets are never an issue, because they can print their tickets online with their names and account numbers.
The main point Arnone emphasized to fans buying tickets is to know from whom or where you are buying the tickets.
"In '07, when we were in the SEC championship game, one of the things that really tears me up inside was when we had a guy who was a big Tennessee fan and bought his tickets from a scalper — and who knows how much he payed for those two tickets to the SEC championship game — those tickets were reported stolen, and then he and his 8-year-old son were left holding the bag," Arnone said. "You try to help people out, but there are situations where you really can't do anything."