The full slideshow of photos from the event is located at the end of the story.
I remember showing up at my first UT football game as a photographer. Not a fan, student or band member, but with my mind focused on my goals for the next few hours and working to learn and accomplish those goals. I was impressed with how nice the facilities were, but it didn’t come as a surprise to me–this is Tennessee, an FBS (Division I) SEC program with a top-10 all-time winning percentage.
Money goes to what people care about most, and Volunteer football is a big-revenue operation. Neyland Stadium is one of the oldest, finest and largest stadiums in the country for a reason–people are fanatical about the cleated brethren that don the orange and white jerseys and hit the wooden sign that says “I will give my all for Tennessee today,” as they leave the locker room.
That locker room, by the way, was recently renovated and named for Peyton Manning after he made a $1 million contribution to the Neyland Stadium renovation project. According to UT’s website, Phase II of this plan alone was an estimated $27.4 million.
The media rooms that I’ve worked in on field level and in the press box are beautiful and spacious areas. They serve a pre-game meal, halftime meal, and snacks and pizza after the game to working members of the press. A similar routine occurs at men’s and women’s basketball games in Thompson Boling Arena. In addition, all media get parking passes near the venue, a storage area for gear, work space for writing/editing/uploading and dedicated athletic department personnel to help them solve problems and accomplish (most of ) their needs.
None of that exists at the Division III (DIII) level. Read more