The University of Tennessee announced Monday afternoon that it has reached a compromise with East Tennessee lawmakers who wanted to force the school to put the Lady Vols name back on all its women’s athletic teams.
Chancellor Jimmy Cheek revealed Monday that all women’s athletics teams will wear a commemorative patch on their uniforms during the 2016-2017 season to honor the “legacy of the Lady Vols.”
After that season, each student-athlete will decide whether or not to wear the patch on her uniform.
When UT athletics switched to Nike last year it ditched the Lady Vol brand for all sports, except women’s basketball.
Lawmakers claimed the school ignored the petitions and demonstrations from thousands of people upset over the change.
However, the university has said it was simply a business decision that coincided with a switch to Nike and helped unite the brand.
East Tennessee lawmakers who wanted UT to completely bring back the Lady Vols name said they were pleased with the compromise.
“While compromises are not always perfect, we feel like we’ve preserved the Lady Vols logo and heritage,” State Sen. Becky Massey said during Monday’s press conference.
What exactly the patch will look like has yet to be determined; however, Cheek said it will include the Lady Vol logo.
Chancellor Cheek told reporters that the university wants to move past this issue and believe the patch is the way to do that.
Women’s basketball will not wear the patch because they kept the Lady Vols name as a tribute to coach emeritus Pat Summitt.
“We realize there have been differences of opinion with the choice to use the Power T for all of our women’s athletics teams, except for basketball,” Chancellor Cheek said in a press release, “A new branding effort and a combined athletics department, however, will never erase history and tradition. We want to focus on being stronger financially, improving facilities, and training and supporting all of our student-athletes and their programs.”
UT Director of Athletics Dave Hart described the patch as a great tribute to the tradition of the Lady Vols.