I knew that Tennessee is in the process of abandoning its long-held “Lady Vols” label for its women’s sports teams except basketball. I didn’t know the decision was tied in as part of the process of changing suppliers from Adidas to Nike.
Tennessee’s path to Nike hasn’t been entirely smooth, though.
The university’s decision, announced in November, to unify all sports except for women’s basketball with the Power T logo and “Volunteers” name as part of the university’s rebranding structure initially didn’t create much of a backlash, but it’s received more attention and more criticism the past six months.
The response to the perceived elimination of the Lady Vols logo and brand has included some informal protests, petitions to state representatives in Nashville and the creation of websites and social media accounts aimed at “saving the Lady Vols.”
Hart has been the target of most of the criticism, though the decision wasn’t solely his.
“I’ve never, ever — my entire career — been offended by people’s opinions,” he said during an interview with “The Nation,” a statewide Vol Network show, in late February. “It’s part of it. When you make tough decisions, then you’ll get that type of reaction, because everyone’s not going to be in agreement with those decisions.”
In its announcement of the decision, Tennessee cited an internal audit, done with consultation from Nike representation, that determined the Power T logo was the university’s primary mark.
This isn’t meant as a knock on the Vols in particular. College athletics these days are, sadly, rife with similar examples of programs choosing money over tradition. (Although, strangely enough, UT is taking a pay cut in the move to Nike.) In fact, you could say that choice will be left as the only meaningful tradition remaining.
A little of this, a little of that…
- Tennessee goes from firing a basketball coach after just one season amid an NCAA investigation into his former program… to hiring a basketball coach linked to questions about of academic misconduct alleged to have occurred during his tenure with his former program. The spirit of Mike Hamilton lives on.
- Dial into the audio clip here at about the eleven minute mark and you can listen to CBSSports’ Jerry Hinnen talk some Georgia football.
- Brian Kelly is brutally honest about player academics at Notre Dame. And I mean brutally.
- The board of Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ Commission on Colleges slaps North Carolina with a 1-year probation penalty.
- “Get out, get dirty, go to work. Roquan’s a star football player, but guess how everybody else makes their living? It ain’t on the football field.”
- Dig into Florida’s budget numbers, and you’ll find that the Gators lost money on football last year. Can you say Boom’s buyout? I thought you could.
- The early signing period for football comes up for a vote next week. The SEC is the only major conference on record opposing it.
- You want to see a list of Georgia’s freshmen jersey numbers? Here you go.
Getting you ready for a holiday weekend with a few tasty morsels…
As always, come and get it.
As I posted yesterday, I’m a little puzzled about the elevated status being assigned to Auburn’s won-loss record in the preseason. But you know what I really don’t get? The breakout predictions for Tennessee.
Sure, Butch Jones has noticeably improved the talent base with his last two seasons of recruiting. But that’s only striking because SOD left the Vols in such a deep hole, talentwise.
And it’s not as if other contending teams in the division have suddenly dropped down a hole. Except for the post-Boom hiccup, Georgia and Florida recruit as well as UT. Missouri is better coached. (Okay, maybe the jury is out on South Carolina a bit.)
So jumping to the top isn’t an easy task, especially when you consider UT’s West draw, Arkansas and Alabama, isn’t as easy as some of the other East contenders. Plus, there’s a rematch with Oklahoma on the schedule.
Then there’s the issue of depth. Those last two classes may be shiny, but even UT isn’t going to fill the two-deep with freshmen. Does that sound like Jones’ team may be more competitive this year? Sure. Does it sound like he’s holding the recipe for ten regular season wins? Eh, not so much.
In other words, call this the Tennessee Conundrum:
I’m guilty of praising a Tennessee team with offensive line and linebacker issues too soon. This is a team that was the definition of thin this spring and hasn’t won more than seven games since 2007. While I think a healthy Tennessee team can certainly compete for the East title, Jones has to show that his highly-ranked recruiting classes mean something.
Derek Dooley, good on teaching personal hygiene, not so good on recruiting and developing talent.