Tennessee’s 2016 season opener against Appalachian State has been moved up from its originally scheduled date.
The game will now take place on Thursday, Sept. 1 at Neyland Stadium, Tennessee announced. It will kick off at 7:30 p.m. ET and be televised on the SEC Network.
Tennessee athletics director Dave Hart released a statement about the game’s new date.
“The conference approached me during our recent athletics director meetings in Jacksonville about a request they had received from ESPN to move our season-opening game to Thursday night on the SEC Network. I visited with Butch Jones about it upon my return to gauge his interest prior to my conversations with appropriate campus personnel. He was very interested in making the change.
This decision was not made in a vacuum. The collaboration that ensued included the Chancellor, Provost, our University CFO, Vice Chancellor for Student-Life and representatives from both University Development and the Tennessee Fund as well as key athletics department personnel. Challenges related to the implementation were identified and discussed at length over the course of several days. Academics was our collective primary concern. Our goal is to be able to do this with minimal impact to the class schedule.
At the end of the deliberations all were supportive of moving forward with the game on Thursday night ahead of the barrage of games to follow throughout the Labor Day weekend. This change will also assist us with logistical considerations connected with the Battle at Bristol the following weekend which involves several of our staff who are assisting with that event.”
Appalachian State presents the first test of the season for the Volunteers, who will likely enter the game as favorites to win the SEC East.