KNOXVILLE — The University of Tennessee is offering Hurricane Florence evacuees free tickets to Saturday's football game between the Volunteers and the University of Texas at El Paso.
The game is scheduled for noon Saturday at Neyland Stadium.
Florence is expected to inundate the Carolinas with rain and dangerous winds later this week.
Residents of North Carolina and South Carolina counties under evacuation orders may claim tickets for themselves and their immediate families beginning at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, according to a news release from Tennessee.
Tickets can be claimed at a marked tent in the Volunteer Village tailgating area on Volunteer Boulevard across from the Torchbearer statue.
"Our hearts go out to all the families whose lives have been impacted by the hurricanes and tropical storms along the Atlantic coast," athletic director Phillip Fulmer said in a news release. "One of our four pillars is warmth, and we feel this is an appropriate way to bring that to life. Certainly, a football game is relatively insignificant in comparison to the realities these evacuees are facing. But if we can provide just a few hours of distraction and normalcy for these families, I believe we should do all we can to make that possible for them."
A valid, state-issued ID for North Carolina or South Carolina is required to receive a complimentary ticket, according to the release. Ticket distribution is on a first-come, first-served basis and will end at noon.
Tennessee (1-1) is taking on UTEP (0-2) before opening its Southeastern Conference schedule by hosting Florida next week.
The Vols have eight players on their roster from the Carolinas. Head coach Jeremy Pruitt said Wednesday that athletic administrators have reached out to the players' families to offer any assistance allowed by the NCAA.
"We do have a plan," Pruitt said. "It's an unfortunate circumstance, and we definitely are looking at that situation."