Tag Archives: athletic

‘Angry Dad’ doesn’t like ‘Lady Vols’ labeling restriction, but sees no legislative action to stop it

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.

House Gives Final OK for Home Schoolers in Public School Athletics

The House gave final approval Monday night to legislation that will require all public schools to allow home school students to participate in their athletic events.
The House approved the measure 69-24 under sponsorship of Rep. Roger Kane, R-Knoxville. It earlier had passed the Senate unanimously with Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville, as sponsor and now goes to the governor for his expected signature.
Under current law, the Tennessee Secondary Schools Athletic Association has developed a policy for home-schooled children trying out for public school teams, but it is left for each school system to decide whether the allow them to participate. Campfield says that roughly half do so. The bill (SB240) requires all systems to open their athletic doors to home-schooled children.
The TSSAA, which is the governing body for school athletics, has opposed the bill. Home-school organizations have pushed the idea for several years.
“This is just making it an even playing ground for everyone who is involved in sports,” said Kane.
In debate, House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh said he was concerned with setting a precedent of giving “the benefits of public schools” to those who are not enrolled in those schools. He questioned whether virtual school students would be next and, if the Legislature enacts a voucher system, whether students with a state voucher attending a private school will be going to public schools for athletics.
Rep. Joe Towns, D-Memphis, said the bill will erode local school board authority in favor of rules developed by TSSAA as body that “nobody elected.”
Kane said the parents of a home-school student “do pay taxes to the state and they do take a burden off the local school system” by not enrolling in it.
Rep. Bill Dunn, R-Knoxville, argued in support of the measure. He said that youngsters from all sorts of backgrounds typically play together at younger ages on nonschool teams, “then suddenly when we get into high school we start segregating them” and “excluding children” because they are home-schooled.
“I think we’re here (as legislators) to help kids get benefits,” Dunn said. “If they can benefit, why would we deny them.”

Donations to UT Athletics Down 25 Percent

Donations to the University of Tennessee athletic department, and the number of people who gifted that money, fell by more than 25 percent in 2012, reports the News Sentinel.
The $10 million drop followed coaching shake-ups and a poor performance on the football field — but it also came after years of record giving to the department.
For the last decade, new capital gifts have fueled new building projects. Those building projects brought new luxury stadium seating. Those seats delivered even more donations at higher-dollar amounts required from ticket holders who wanted to watch games from a premium perch.
It’s a strategy that grew the overall donations — for the tickets fund and capital projects combined — from $13.6 million in 1998 to a high water mark of $46.9 million in 2008. Last year UT brought in $35.1 million.
“When I started in the fall of ’97, there were four people in the office total and now the office may have 15 or 16 people,” said Bill Myers, the chief financial officer for the athletics department who began his time at UT in the development office.
“Over that time it grew because when you have 10,000 to 12,000 contributors, with four people you just can’t have personal relationships with that number,” he said. “So as you add staff and are able to steward those donors, and have personal interactions with more of them, they’re more likely to contribute.”

UT Athletics Economic Impact: $151M Per Year ($28M in tax revenue)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A study says Tennessee’s athletic department has an annual economic impact of approximately $151 million to the state of Tennessee.
The study by the university’s center for business and economic research measured the athletic department’s economic impact for the 2011-12 fiscal year. The study estimated that over 2,900 jobs are created annually as a result of combined annual spending by the athletic department and fans attending Tennessee football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball games.
The report also indicated that the Tennessee athletic department raises over $28 million in state and local revenues each year. That figure includes slightly over $20 million in state and local sales taxes, $1.55 million in amusement taxes on ticket sales at Neyland Stadium and Thompson-Boling Arena plus $6.3 million in other tax revenues.

UT Ticket Tax Unfair, Officials Say

People purchasing tickets to University of Tennessee athletic events pay a 5 percent “amusement tax” in addition to other levies, with the revenue earmarked for the City of Knoxville and Knox County. UT officials would like to keep the money – about $1.5 million per year – for UT purposes, reports the News Sentinel.
For decades the University of Tennessee has sought to eliminate the tax.
The university, however, does not want to lower ticket prices, said Senior Associate Athletic Director Bill Myers. Rather, UT Athletics want to keep roughly $1.5 million it’s currently collecting on behalf of the city and county and use it toward planned construction projects and making up the $4 million budget shortfall the athletics department faced last year.
The tax dates back to state legislation passed in the 1940s and applies only to Knox County. The law has since been whittled down with exemptions over the years and now largely targets movie theatres outside the central business district and regular-season college athletic events in Thompson-Boling Arena and Neyland Stadium.
“We’re the only entity in the state that pays this tax — I’m talking about university athletic programs,” said Chancellor Jimmy Cheek. “Vanderbilt doesn’t pay it, University of Memphis doesn’t pay it, ETSU doesn’t pay it. It’s a state law that affects only Knox County.”
It’s an unfair tax, he said.
…Though the money is a small portion of the city’s roughly $180 million general fund budget, it’s revenue the city does not want to do without, said Knoxville Law Director Charles Swanson. If it disappears, he said, the city may have to raise other taxes to make up the difference.
City officials appreciate the value of having the university nearby and the economic stimulus that fans bring when they come to town, but it presents challenges that cost money to deal with, he said.

UT Athletic Department Posts $4M Deficit

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee’s athletic department posted a $3.98 million deficit for the2011-12 fiscal year that forced it to use a substantial portion of its financial reserves, department officials acknowledged Monday.
Although the athletic department made $106.5 million in revenues, it had $110.5 million in expenses. Those expenses included hefty buyouts to former athletic director Mike Hamilton, football coach Phillip Fulmer, men’s basketball coach Bruce Pearl and baseball coach Todd Raleigh. When Hamilton resigned in June 2011, he received a $1.3 million buyout over three years. Fulmer received a buyout of $6 million over four years after getting fired in 2008.
Tennessee also has more than $200 million in outstanding debt related to the construction and renovation of various athletic facilities on campus.
The deficit, first reported Monday by The Sports Animal radio station in Knoxville, caused the athletic department’s reserves to dip to slightly below $2 million.

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UT Cuts 17 Athletic Department Jobs

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The University of Tennessee is eliminating 17 full-time positions in the athletic department as part of a reorganization designed to save about $2.5 million.
The school said in a news release Monday that the previously separate men’s and women’s athletic departments will be consolidated.
The 17 positions will be dropped effective June 1, saving $1 million. A school spokesman did not return a phone call asking how many full-time employees will be left in the department.
The university said it will also save some $850,000 by eliminating unfilled positions, resignations, retirements and other terminations. It said another $625,000 will be saved through reductions in the number of student employees: managers, graduate assistants and interns.
“It is important to note, however, that none of the financial decisions made will have a negative impact on the competitiveness of our individual sport programs,” the news release said. “If anything, an efficient and financially sound athletics department will rise to meet the needs and challenges of our sport programs and their student-athletes in a more effective manner.
“These decisions will not cut into the fiber of our pursuit of comprehensive excellence.”
The school said consolidating the men’s and women’s departments is designed to provide “a clear direction.”
The statement from the university said the school has more employees in the athletic department than those at peer institutions in the Southeastern Conference and elsewhere. It also acknowledged that some functions in the past had been duplicated.
The restructuring plan has been studied for several months.

Lamar: The Track Star

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander will be among the 2011 inductees into the Vanderbilt Athletics Hall of Fame.
Before the Republican was elected governor of Tennessee and pursued a bid for U.S. president, he ran track for the Commodores while pursuing his bachelor’s degree.
Alexander set a school record with a run of 42.7 in the 440-yard relay in 1961 in a race against Tennessee, a school where he would serve as president from 1988-1991. He also competed in the mile relay and 440-yard dash for the Commodores.
Alexander, who walked 1,000 miles across the state of Tennessee during his campaign for governor in 1978, was included on the NCAA’s “100 Most Influential Student-Athletes” list in 2006.

N.C. Republicans Make Schuler’s Seat More Vulnerable (as he reportedly considers UT job)

North Carolina’s Republican legislative leaders have unveiled their congressional redistricting plan, which is designed to make four incumbent Democrats more vulnerable to GOP challengers. One of them is Rep. Health Schuler, who is reportedly considering the possibility of being named to the University of Tennessee athletic director’s position.
The Republican redistricting plan changes Schuler’s district from 52 percent Republican (based on the 2008 presidential race results) to 58 percent Republican, according to the Washington Post. The plan moves Republican-leaning counties of Mitchell, Caldwell and Avery into Schuler’s 11th District while moving half of Democrat-leaning Buncombe County into Republican Patrick Henry’s 10th District, says the News and Observer.
Schuler has been non-commenting on the speculation about the UT athletic director’s position through a spokesman in Washington. But the Union City Messenger asked him personally while he was in the Tennessee town of Union City last week and got what the reporter described as a “political answer.”
“Right now, I’m focused on the job at hand and the issues that our nation is facing,” the former Vol quarterback and current North Carolina congressman told The Messenger just prior to speaking to the Boys & Girls Club at the “Breakfast for Champions” … at Union City Middle School. “It’s very flattering that my name has been mentioned, but today I’m focused on talking to these kids and the FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) later today.”
Shuler — in town as part of a trip that includes participation in an FCA golf tournament this afternoon in Dyersburg — did say he has been contacted by numerous “supporters and fans” in regard to the AD’s job. He would not confirm whether he is a candidate or not.
A radio host for WLVZ radio in Knoxville and numerous other news agencies have reported that Shuler was possibly interested in replacing Mike Hamilton, who resigned earlier this month.
Rumors aside, Shuler had no qualms discussing his limitless love for the university.
“My blood runs orange,” he said when asked if Tennessee still has a special place in his heart. “There is a family atmosphere at the university that is special. It’s something that you don’t see at a lot of other places.
“I’ll always be a part of the UT family and that’s something the good Lord has blessed me with.”
Shuler also applauded the loyalty of Volunteer fans across the state while at UCMS, recalling stops he made as a student-athlete and the support he received.
“Tennessee’s a very large state, but the fan support is just incredible,” Shuler said “From Union City to Knoxville is a pretty long drive, but I remember going to Memphis and Nashville as a player and seeing orange everywhere.
“There are universities much closer than Knoxville, but the loyalty is amazing. I was at a small get-together last night (in Union City) and there were orange ‘T’s’ on almost every shirt.”

Schuler Eyeing Move from Congress to UT Athletic Director?

Democratic Rep. Heath Shuler is reportedly considering a job as the University of Tennessee’s athletic director, but his spokesman said the congressman’s recent fundraising suggests he’s not planning to leave Capitol Hill anytime soon, reports The Tennessean.
The spokesman, Andrew Whelan, didn’t expressly deny that Shuler is considering the position at his alma mater in Knoxville. He said the congressman “is not seeking the A.D. spot and hasn’t been offered the A.D. spot.”
“We’re doing everything we can to raise money for a re-election campaign in 2012,” Whelan said Wednesday. “I can’t really speak to sports talk radio or Internet rumors, but the congressman is looking forward to his re-election in 2012. He is running for Congress.”
Jimmy Stanton, communications director for UT athletics, said a committee is searching for the next athletic director, but he didn’t know who’s being considered.
Knoxville radio station WVLZ reported this week that Shuler is in talks with UT leadership about the position. He was a star quarterback for the Vols in the 1990s.
Experts say the three-term Democrat faces a tough race in 2012, especially because redistricting by the state’s Republican legislature may strip Asheville, a Democratic stronghold, from Shuler’s district.
Shuler has geared up fundraising with four events in the past two weeks. Another will take place in August at a concert given by Taylor Swift in Washington.