KNOXVILLE (WATE) – People rallied Thursday at the University of Tennessee Board of Trustees meeting, hoping to make their point loud and clear that they want to keep the Lady Vols name for all women’s sports.
UT first announced in November it was renaming all of its sports teams except the women’s basketball team as simply the Volunteers as part of a “One Tennessee” branding initiative.
Supporters showed up to the board meeting, chanting and holding signs before the trustees began. They then came inside, holding signs and pictures of Pat Summitt, saying she’s much of what they represent.Previous story:Tennessee lawmaker calls on UT Board of Trustees to save Lady Vols name
State Rep. Roger Kane sent a letter to the Board of Trustees earlier this week signed by 45 legislators, asking them to take up the issue. The board then announced it had no intention of placing the Lady Vols renaming on its agenda. Petitions have been circulating as well.
“They’re not listening to us. We have over 25,000 signatures and the people who hear about it say that’s the dumbest thing ever. Everybody knows the Lady Vols. The Power T is Texas not Tennessee. So why do you get rid of something that brings you recognition all over the world?” asked supporter Sylvia Billingsley.
“The board of trustees are so arrogant and dismissive to everybody. It makes you mad and mainly you can’t understand it,” said Betty Catron.
The vice chair of the UT Board of Trustees says it is not a board of trustees issue and needs to be taken up by the athletic department.
The renaming is set to take place on July 1.