- Neyland Stadium is set for a $106 million renovation, and included in the plan is a halftime meeting room that takes advantage of an upcoming NCAA rule change regarding technology.
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On Saturdays, Neyland Stadium in Knoxville is buzzing with fans clad in orange and white waiting to swarm the stadium and settle in for some college football. Some of the best in the game, including Peyton Manning, have played at the University of Tennessee.
Neyland Stadium has undergone 16 expansion projects since 1921 when it seated 3,200. It’s currently the fifth-largest football stadium in the U.S. seating 102,455 screaming fans.
The stadium is now set for a $106 million renovation project scheduled to be done by August 2019, and included in the plan is a new and improved halftime meeting room that takes advantage of an upcoming NCAA rule change regarding technology.
In February, the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel announced that in the 2017 season, collegiate football teams will be able to use electronic devices for coaching in the locker room and from the press box during games.
“Any time you have coach’s film it helps, but it is a game changer,” Tennessee head coach Butch Jones told reporters at the SEC spring meetings. “I still don’t know how much benefit you truly get. It may be more benefit to the coaches than the players. But to have that avenue, to be able to show them—to be able to gather up as a coaching staff when maybe there is something that happened in the course of the first half that you want to look at—it is a game changer. And we have to make sure that we’re prepared for all that.”
With the new additions to the stadium, the Volunteers will be prepared. The halftime meeting room at Neyland Stadium will be adjacent to the locker room and roughly 8,800 square feet while featuring a wall that can be raised in 30 seconds to separate the offense and defense. It will also feature multiple televisions, whiteboards and coaches’ rooms with acoustic treatment.
“Taking advantage of a pending rule change by the NCAA allowing video to be used at halftime, the Halftime Meeting Room will optimize current technology to provide UT coaches a dramatic advantage over their opponents,” read the Neyland Stadium renovation feasibility study done by Tennessee and architectural firm Populous.
The concept summary added that the room would “set the bar in the SEC for newly-allowed space.”
The NCAA says that once the rule is in effect, coaches will be able to access in-game electronic devices in designated areas in the stadium, but not on the sidelines, in team areas or on the field. The home team is required to give the away team equal access to viewing video.
In addition to the video room, this renovation project will include other expansions of the facilities, like a larger concourse level. Neyland Stadium also underwent a three-part renovation from 2005 to 2010 that cost nearly $140 million.