State Rep. Roger Kane, R-Knoxville, hosted “Lady Vols Day On The Hill” as part of his opposition to the University of Tennessee dropping the Lady Vols name except for basketball. But Kane tells Georgina Vines that he doesn’t believe he can do anything in the Legislature to reverse the decision.
His daughter, Holly Kane Douglas, was a javelin thrower on the Lady Vols track and field team from 2007-2011.
“I’m an angry dad,” Kane said.
Kane said it doesn’t appear there is anything the Legislature can do to reverse the decision announced in a university news release on Nov. 10 that a branding restructure will feature the Power T logo for all programs except women’s basketball beginning July 1.
“It’s like a mascot. It’s a team’s name,” Kane said.
“Lady Vols Day On The Hill” was held Wednesday and drew about 15 fans and former players, Kane said. While the fans staffed a table getting signatures for a petition, the former players visited with legislators, he said.
Kane and state Sen. Becky Duncan Massey, a Republican who represents the 6th District, have met with university officials to discuss their objection.
Massey said she’s met with UT President Joe DiPietro and Chancellor Jimmy Cheek individually and accompanied by a group that included donors to Lady Vols programs.
“They were people like me, trying to see if we could get something done. I tend to work behind the scenes trying to reason (with people) and get them to think of different points of views,” Massey said. “I don’t agree with the decision. We’ve helped with fundraisers, helped with auctions, I’m close to (Women’s Athletic Director Emeritus) Joan Cronan. I appreciate the heritage in the brand developed in the last 40 years.”
Kane and Massey discussed sponsoring a resolution to address the issue.
“Resolutions are nonbinding. All it would do is say we’re not crazy about this,” Massey said.
State Rep. Joe Armstrong, a Democrat representing the 15th District, has filed a resolution commending the Lady Vols basketball team (HJR84K) and noting the name change for the other teams, Kane said.