KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Tennessee track & field standout Chandler Hayden has signed to WWE’s Next in Line program, joining the newest class of collegiate athletes vying to become the next global wrestling superstar through their new name, image and likeness program.
Following the NCAA’s landmark policy change in July 2021 that allowed athletes the ability to monetize their name, image and likeness, WWE announced the creation of their ‘Next in Line” NIL program to give college athletes a path to stardom through access to exclusive training and resources.
On Monday, WWE announced the Tennessee redshirt sophomore would be among the latest crop of athletes joining the program.
The athletes will be given access to WWE training and their performance center in Orlando, Florida as well as access to various resources across the country to help teach them the ways of the WWE Superstar including how to wrestle, tell a story, cut promos, and even branding/marketing themselves and making the most of social media.
Upon completion of the NIL program, WWE says that select athletes may earn an exclusive opportunity to be offered an official WWE contract.
The Pittsfield, Illinois native has already written her name into the Tennessee record books. In 2020, she broke the all-time UT freshman record in the women’s weight throw in her college debut before breaking her own record at the SEC Championships.
She broke the Lady Vol freshman record in the hammer throw during the 2021 outdoor season, logging a mark of 57.02 meters. Her personal-best hammer throw of 58.54 meters at the Tennessee Challenge put her at No. 5 on UT’s all-time list.
During indoor competition, she threw a 20-pound weight 20.26 meters, a person-best which ranks third all time in Tennessee program history.
Hayden wouldn’t be the first Vol to reach WWE stardom if she is able to successfully earn a WWE contract. WWE Hall of Fame inductee Kevin Nash played basketball at Tennessee from 1977 to 1980. Bianca Belair, a Knoxville native and another former Tennessee track & field athlete, is one of the most popular wrestlers on the WWE women’s roster today.