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Amid changing NCAA rules on NIL, Tennessee publicly endorses two collectives

Thursday, Tennessee athletics director Danny White gave Tennessee fans an update on NIL following the NCAA’s rule changes to a University’s involvement with NIL collectives.

“Good news Vol nation we have new guidelines from the NCAA that allow us to be more aggressive in how we support and promote our name, image, likeness entities in Knoxville.

“Moving forward let’s continue to be aggressive, even more aggressive with 100% compliance within the rules operating with the highest level of integrity because that’s who we are.”

Before today’s tweet, Tennessee had not public endorsed a collective because the NCAA rules stated you couldn’t. With changing interim legislation last week opening the doors for a clear, defined working relationship with collectives, White encouraged Vols fans to support them on Thursday.

“I believe we have only scratched the surface of what we are capable of in the greatest college sports city in America. We have the biggest and best fanbase in college sports. Let’s continue to use that to our advantage. I encourage all of you to support our student-athletes and collectives. Please support the Lady Vol Boost-Her club and Sprye sports and their volunteer club. These collectives have made it their mission to support our student athletes and help Tennessee athletes be the best that we can be.”

CEO of The Volunteer Club, James Clawson echoed White’s statement and hailed White’s support.

“We have worked for the last 16 months to move Tennessee forward in the NIL space,” Clawson said. “We are excited to have Tennessee’s support and public endorsement. Danny is exactly right – Tennessee is uniquely setup to be the number one NIL destination in the country. From our incredible fanbase to Knoxville’s economic footprint, we are ready to continue taking Tennessee to the top in NIL.”

To date, Spyre Sports and The Volunteer Club have helped student-athletes earn over $4 million dollars.

Over the last 16 months of the NIL life, some schools went ahead and endorsed collectives leaving Vol fans wondering if White was anti-NIL. The truth is he never has been as he has stated multiple times. Concerned about some things yes, against no.

“I think it’s great and I have always been there,” White said earlier this year. “What I am concerned about is looking like minor-league sports. I think the connection to higher education is what makes college athletics special. It’s why our alumni care so much. It’s why our fans, who maybe didn’t even go to Tennessee, care so much because they care about this place. The common bond our student athlete have with our fanbase, our alumni is special. That’s what I think drives the emotional connections in college athletics. If we lose that then we become minor league sports. I can’t think of a version of minor league sports that’s prolifically successful and popular like college athletics. I don’t say that as a doomsday. I say that as a caution. We need to be smart about how we set this up so that we don’t lose that connection. These are college students that have a strong connection and affiliation with Universities. That’s what’s made the whole thing unique.”

In the midst of an NCAA investigation, White and University leaders felt the first priority was to protect the University and the athletic department. With the new rules passed last week allowing collectives and schools to clearly work together. Danny White made it clear his plan for NIL.

“We make a lot of bold proclamations around here,” White said. “We talk about being the best athletic department in the country. We have the best fan base in the country. We sit here in the best college sports city in the country. Let’s be the very best at name, image, and likeness. Let’s continue to push the envelope, operate with integrity and chase championships in all of our sports.”

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