Tennessee Athletics Experiences Record-Breaking Fundraising Year

The University of Tennessee Athletics Board had its fall meeting Saturday and presented an update on academic and community success of student-athletes, the UT Athletics Department (UTAD) budget and several facility projects.

The meeting began with an overview of UTAD’s academic and community success in 2006-07:

-- 222 student-athletes were named to the Thornton Center Honor Roll
-- 54 student-athletes received diplomas in spring 2007
-- 313 student-athletes volunteered more than 2,500 hours for 72 different organizations.

The Thornton Center reported that the VOLScholar program continues to be a success. In 2006-2007, five men’s and women’s teams participated in the program.

Of those five teams, 63 men and women student-athletes were named VOLScholars and will be wearing the VOLScholar patch on their jerseys during the fall and spring semesters. In addition to the VOLScholar patches, these 63 VOLScholars were honored at the VOLScholar banquet on Thursday, October 25th.

To be considered a VOLScholar, a student-athlete needs to achieve a 3.0 in the classroom. In 2007-2008, the number of teams participating in the VOLScholar program increased from five to ten teams.

Following this discussion was a report on UTAD’s budget. For fiscal year 2007, UTAD had a net surplus of approximately $5.52 million before making transfers to support the system and Knoxville campus programs of approximately $2.8 million, which included $1.38 million for academic scholarships awarded to nonstudent-athletes. These funds provided more than 2,400 students with the opportunity to further their education.

The Volunteer Athletics & Scholarship Fund (VASF) had a record-breaking year in 2006-07. Total donations for the year ending June 30, 2007, were $34.8 million – up more than $3 million from the previous year. This included $22.1 million in annual gifts and $12.7 million in gifts to capital projects, additional endowments and miscellaneous gifts.

VASF gifts supported athletics scholarships in addition to other on-going operational needs such as recruiting, training, academic support and academic scholarships for nonstudent-athletes.

Giving to capital projects enabled facilities such as Allan Jones Intercollegiate Aquatic Center, Pratt Pavilion, Thompson-Boling Arena renovations, Sherri Parker Lee Softball Stadium and Regal Soccer Stadium to begin construction in the last year.

Men’s athletics director Mike Hamilton and women’s athletics director Joan Cronan presented an update on several facility projects:

-- Allan Jones Intercollegiate Aquatic Center - The $24.3 million aquatic center will serve as new home of the swimming and diving teams when completed in early 2008, replacing the Student Aquatic Center and Ray Bussard Intercollegiate Pool that opened in 1967.

-- Intercollegiate Golf Complex – The golf complex will be a joint effort between athletics and the College of Agriculture, serving as UT’s Turfgrass Management laboratory. Bids for construction of the fairways and greens are expected to be received sometime during the first quarter of 2008..

-- Lindsey Nelson Stadium – Phase 1 of renovations to Lindsey Nelson Stadium began in July 2007. Renovations include a new team clubhouse, extension of the north grandstand and addition of 1,000 seats. Phases 2 and 3 will follow and renovate the playing field, replace the press box, add entertainment boxes, build new batting cages, and create central field level spectator seating.

-- Neyland Stadium - Phase 2 of the Neyland Stadium Master Plan begins following the Vanderbilt game on Nov. 17. Renovations will include the lower west concourse, expansion of the team locker room and addition of a field level Letterman’s Room and media center.

-- Pratt Basketball Pavilion – UTAD broke ground on a basketball practice facility in August 2006 and teams began practicing in the facility on Oct. 12, 2007. The facility is scheduled for completion in late 2007. Pratt Pavilion houses two full size gymnasiums, one each for the men’s and women’s varsity basketball teams, as well as space for an athletic training room, weight room and film study room.

-- Regal Soccer Stadium – A grand opening celebration was held for Regal Soccer Stadium in August.

-- Sherry Parker Lee Softball Stadium - Construction began in the summer of 2006 and will be completed in late 2007. The new stadium features permanent stands, dugouts, lights, locker rooms, restrooms and concession facilities.

-- Thompson-Boling Arena – Phase 1 of renovations to Thompson-Boling Arena are complete. The renovations added 32 luxury suites and 166 loge seats to the upper north side of Thompson-Boling Arena and enhanced concourses and seating areas for all fans. The renovations include the addition of a $3 million center-hung scoreboard.

Story Courtesy: UT Sports Information & Public Relations

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