Tennessee Athletics lays out Name, Image and Likeness plan for student-athletes

In addition to securing the services and expertise of a leading-edge NIL-focused firm, Tennessee Athletics also has worked closely with on-campus experts to enhance the university’s for-credit Entrepreneurship minor in UT’s Haslam College of Business.
University of Tennessee campus
University of Tennessee campus(WVLT)
Updated: Jun. 3, 2021 at 5:27 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Tennessee Athletics has initiated multiple strategic partnerships aimed at proactively equipping its student-athletes with the most comprehensive collection of resources to capitalize on impending Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) legislation.

In addition to securing the services and expertise of leading-edge NIL-focused firm Altius Sports Partners, Tennessee Athletics also has worked closely with on-campus experts to enhance the university’s for-credit Entrepreneurship minor in UT’s Haslam College of Business. A recent leadership gift from an anonymous Tennessee Fund donor has been earmarked for continued development of the university’s NIL-centric academic programming as well.

“Educating our student-athletes is the key to helping them maximize their opportunities relative to NIL,” Tennessee Vice Chancellor/Director of Athletics Danny White said. “As an institution of higher learning, it was important that our NIL program include a comprehensive educational component. This program assures current and future Vols and Lady Vols that the University of Tennessee is prepared to guide them in effectively managing, expanding and enhancing the value of their personal brands.”

While spearheaded in Haslam, Tennessee’s Entrepreneurship minor combines course offerings from across multiple academic colleges and departments. Faculty actively engaged in the development of the program’s expanded NIL curriculum also represent multiple programs in the College of Communication & Information (see expanded list of campus partners below).

The menu of courses within the minor deliver education related to brand development, marketing, communications/messaging, personal finance/financial planning and several other key elements of NIL maximization.

“A unique characteristic of the NIL framework at Tennessee is the ability to connect our student-athletes with nationally recognized faculty that have spent their entire professional careers in key areas related to NIL,” Associate Provost & Senior Associate AD Dr. Joe Scogin said. “At the core, college athletics is about educating student-athletes and preparing them to have success beyond sport. Partnering with multiple colleges throughout campus and anchoring our NIL education in a credentialed minor in Entrepreneurship gives UT student-athletes the opportunity to invest in their future in new and creative ways. Most importantly, the Entrepreneurship minor is fully developed and ready to deliver now.”

Tennessee’s partnership with Altius Sports Partners assures UT student-athletes have on-demand access to a diverse national roster of NIL consultants and cross-disciplinary leaders whose areas of industry expertise ranges from personal branding and media/marketing to business formation and revenue generation to legal and compliance and more.

“We don’t have a plan; we have a product,” Senior Associate AD for Regulatory Affairs Andrew Donovan said. “Today’s announcement is the culmination of more than 15 months of thoughtful, pointed and collaborative work among a variety of industry experts. In addition to building the framework for a new, all-things-NIL entry course, Altius conducted a full review of the Entrepreneurship minor, providing course-by-course feedback to further integrate NIL-specific educational materials within the curriculum.

“Through the support, guidance and engagement of our dedicated faculty and that of the nationally-renowned sports law and business experts at Altius, we have refined and strengthened an educational platform that will prepare current and future Vols and Lady Vols to maximize their NIL opportunities in a responsible and effective manner – throughout their time at UT and beyond.”

Current student-athletes recognize the immense potential that their connection with the Tennessee brand can unlock.

“I have always felt creating a legacy off the field was of the utmost importance, including building a personal brand,” rising senior and SEC Football Leadership Council Vice Chair Alontae Taylor said. “This new NIL-focused program gives us the educational experience and expertise we need to succeed in this era. The University of Tennessee brand is strongly recognized around the world and provides us maximum exposure as student-athletes. The connections we make live with us forever and help us beyond our careers as VFLs. We appreciate the university and athletic department being proactive and helping us in this new endeavor.”

The uniqueness of the University of Tennessee’s impact and presence throughout the region provides added appeal for current and future Vols and Lady Vols interested in brand-boosting NIL opportunities.

“This suite of NIL resources that we’ve put in place for our student-athletes is powerful by itself, but when you unleash it in our local economic ecosystem, the potential is staggering,” Associate AD/Chief of Staff Marcus Hilliard said. “East Tennessee offers a robust and diverse commercial hub with more than 2.3 million residents, a thriving sports media market and no major professional sports franchises to compete with. The stage is set, the spotlight shines bright, and the opportunities are boundless.”

Current student-athletes will quickly recognize the lifelong benefits of Tennessee’s unique approach.

“This program and minor continue to prove how innovative we are as a university,” volleyball rising senior Giana Pellizzon said. “From an athlete’s perspective, this makes us feel incredibly supported from the university professionals we trust have our best interest at heart. This is a program all athletes will want to be involved in because the practical knowledge gained can be applied to all different career paths, and it’s designed to help us think beyond our years at Tennessee.”

The NCAA Division I Council is expected to act on a legislative proposal that would permit student-athletes to benefit from the use of their NIL during a meeting scheduled for June 22-23. The rule change could take effect as soon as July 1 and would permit student-athletes to be compensated for personal business activities (e.g., appearances, autographs, camps, clinics, etc.) and the promotion/endorsement of products and services. The state of Tennessee adopted similar legislation last month with a Jan. 1, 2022, effective date.


Neeraj Bharadwaj - Associate Professor of Marketing

  • Areas of expertise: Marketing strategy, cause marketing, (linking marketing to a person or cause), marketing research, brand management and product development

Courtney Childers - Associate Professor of Advertising and Public Relations

  • Director of the Adam Brown Social Media Command Center
  • Areas of expertise: Social media, influencer marketing campaigns, food and beverage marketing to youth and sexual imagery and gender roles in advertising

Beth Foster - Professor and Director of the School of Advertising and Public Relations

  • Areas of expertise: Health communication, crisis communication, public relations, public health campaigns

Nick Geidner - Associate Professor of Journalism and Electronic Media

  • Areas of expertise: Effects of Internet technologies on journalism and group formation

Derrick Holland - Assistant Professor of Advertising and Public Relations

  • Areas of expertise: Source credibility and consumer attitudes, transparency in public relations messaging, public relations campaigns

Brian Krumm – Associate Professor of Law

  • Litigation experience with representation of small- and medium-sized businesses clients on matters of corporate governance, preparation of transactional documents, and commercial and business litigation.
  • Served in Tennessee state government as Assistant Commissioner of Employment Security, Deputy Commissioner of Labor, and as a Policy Advisor to the Governor.
  • Areas of expertise: Commercial law, companies law, contract law, corporate governance, entrepreneurial law

Catherine Luther - Professor and Director of the School of Journalism and Electronic Media

  • National-award-winning researcher and Fulbright Scholar
  • Areas of expertise: Diversity in mass media, media and social group representations, television, international journalism, communication and information science theories

Lane Morris - Professor of Management and Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Strategy

  • Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies & Student Affairs, Haslam College of Business
  • Executive Leadership Development Coach for the Executive MBA program
  • Areas of expertise: Strategic human resources, leadership, executive coaching, work/life balance, assessment of performance-based intervention programs and stress/health/wellness

Matthew Pittman - Assistant Professor of Advertising and Public Relations

  • Areas of expertise: Strategic social media, intersections of emotions, social media and brand strategy, social strategic communication and message framing/design

Lynn Youngs - Executive Director of the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation

  • Provide development and support to student entrepreneurs looking to create and manage their business/brand
  • Areas of expertise: Startup companies, business development, entrepreneurship

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