Nov. 13, 2010
The University of Tennessee Athletics Board met Saturday morning and was presented with updates regarding student-athlete academic accomplishments, as well as the current status of several items related to UT Athletics, including the department's financial health, annual contribution to campus, and capital projects.
Headlining the meeting was a discussion of the new reporting structure for UT Athletics. The UT Board of Trustees approved in June a measure that shifted reporting responsibility for UTAD from the UT System to the Knoxville Campus, and athletics now reports to the UT Chancellor, Dr. Jimmy Cheek.
The meeting began with a discussion of the academic accomplishments of University of Tennessee student-athletes, the highlights of which include:
All teams were above the 925 threshold on their annual APR (Academic Progress Rate) rating.
A graduation success rate (GSR) of 74 percent for student-athletes who entered the university from 2000-01 through 2003-04. Five Tennessee teams reported a GSR of 100 - Lady Vols basketball, Lady Vols cross country/track and field, soccer, Lady Vols tennis and volleyball.
During the 2009-10 school year, 71 current and former Vols and Lady Vols graduated from the University of Tennessee, continuing Tennessee athletics' commitment to excellence in the classroom. This includes six former student-athletes who returned to the University to complete their degree requirements through the Renewing Academic Commitment (RAC) program.
A total of 479 student-athletes who achieved a GPA of 3.0 or higher in the fall of 2009 and spring of 2010, and of that group, 38 earned a 4.0 GPA.
Three student-athletes won NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarships: Lillian Hammond (Softball), Phoebe Wright (Women's Track and Field), and Tiffany Huff (Softball). Additionally, Lady Vols runner Phoebe Wright received the H. Boyd McWhorter Female SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award.
The Lady Vols produced five Academic All-Americans: Jackie Areson (Track), Molly Baird (Soccer), Angie Bjorkland (Basketball), Tiffany Huff (Softball) and Phoebe Wright (Track). There were 235 Tennessee student-athletes named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll.
Nine members of the current Tennessee football team are playing the 2010 season having already earned an undergraduate degree. This distinction makes Tennessee third nationally in the number of graduates on their current football roster.
Tennessee student-athletes devoted more than 2,300 cumulative hours to community service projects during the 2009-10 year.
In addition to the multitude of student-athlete academic accomplishments, the on-field performance by the Tennessee student-athletes placed the school 16th in the Director's Cup that measures overall athletics excellence, the second-highest ranking of any SEC school. Tennessee finished in the Top 20 for the sixth time in the last seven years.
The next item was a report on the UTAD budget, which was $98.6 million for fiscal year 2010. UTAD, which is one of fewer than 10 departments in the nation that receives no funding from state subsidies, taxes or tuition dollars, experienced a surplus of $4,058,980.
The financial management successes of the department allowed for a contribution of more than $10 million in direct cash support to the University, including $1.375 million for student academic scholarships, $1.125 million in annual debt service on five University parking garages, $1.23 million for game day parking, staffing & clean up of parking areas, and $450,000 for travel and operating expenses for the Pride of the Southland Band.
Included in this contribution was also a $1 million transfer from UT Athletics to the University from the new SEC television contract, including $800,000 for graduate assistantships all over campus, $100,000 for the Student Success Center, and $100,000 for the Teaching and Learning Center. The athletics department also contributes more than $21 million annually through facilities, utilities' costs and maintenance expenses for athletic facilities, costs that are funded centrally for other campus units.
UTAD also experienced a banner year in development, as the Tennessee Fund reported $43,442,411 in total giving -- a school record for Tennessee and an increase of approximately $7.4 million from the previous year's total of $36.06 million. The Tennessee Fund supports athletic scholarships as well as other UT Athletics operations, including such items as academic support, strength and conditioning, athletic training, recruiting, and academic scholarships for non-student athletes.
Additionally, Director of Athletics Mike Hamilton and Director of Women's Athletics Joan Cronan presented updates on numerous facility projects:
Neyland-Thompson Sports Center Addition/Football Training Center - The addition to the Neyland-Thompson Sports Center will include new coaches' offices, meeting rooms, a new weight room, locker room, training table, and training room. The addition of this space will allow the 110 employees currently located in Stokely Athletic Center to be relocated to the Neyland-Thompson Sports Center. Construction is anticipated to begin in February 2011.
Neyland Stadium Master Plan - Phase III of the Neyland Stadium Master Plan was completed just prior to the 2010 football season. Renovations included a brick and wrought iron collegiate gothic façade on the north and west sides of the stadium, creation of the Gate 21 plaza with amphitheater and the addition of the 1,782-seat Tennessee Terrace in the west upper deck. UT Athletics recently received approval to continue the Neyland Stadium Master Plan, allowing the renovation process to move to the South end zone.
Thompson-Boling Arena - The third phase of construction will soon be complete. This includes new office space for both men's and women's basketball, a dramatic entrance for both teams to use that will highlight both team's history, and an expansion of both the ticket office and athletics business offices. Construction is to be completed in December.
Mack and Jonnie Day Intercollegiate Golf Complex - The construction of three practice holes, driving range and practice greens began in May 2008 and is now complete. Both men's and women's teams are currently practicing at the site. The next phase of construction that includes a clubhouse for the use of both teams will begin pending funding for the project.
Goodfriend Indoor Tennis Center - The renovation increases the four indoor courts to six; constructs shell spaces for future locker rooms, coaches' offices, and a lobby/commons area; and installs of a new elevator. Construction is to be completed in January 2011.