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KNOXVILLE — Super Bowl XLI will provide a super learning experience for seven University of Tennessee students.

Front row, left to right: Lindsey Smith, Jennifer Edwards, Sue Flamini, Chanel Lattimer; Back Row, Left to right: Zach Franz, Chris Miller, Tommy Smith
Front row, left to right: Lindsey Smith, Jennifer Edwards, Sue Flamini, Chanel Lattimer; Back Row, Left to right: Zach Franz, Chris Miller, Tommy Smith
While UT alumnus Peyton Manning, quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts, gets a workout on the field, six UT graduate students and one undergraduate will be working behind the scenes to learn how a large-scale sporting event is prepared, planned and carried out.

Some of the students are from UT’s College of Business Administration and some are from the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences. One is part of a dual-degree program that allows students to earn an MBA and master’s degree in sport studies with a concentration in sport management.

The group, “Team UT,” is led by Fritz G. Polite, assistant professor of sport management, who teaches in the department of exercise, sport and leisure studies. Polite arranged Team UT’s trip, the first such opportunity for UT students.

“I’m excited to be a part of the first group of UT students to get the opportunity,” team member Jennifer Edwards said. “This is the ultimate hands-on learning experience, as I will have a chance to be a part of the coordination of one the largest competitions in sports.”

Members of Team UT are Edwards, Zach Franz and Chanel Lattimer, all sport management graduate students; undergraduate Lindsey Smith; dual-degree student Sue Flamini; MBA student Chris B. Miller and UT MBA alumnus Tommy Smith.

Team UT leaves Friday. On Friday night, the students will help run a VIP Sponsor Party. They will meet and greet sponsors, collect tickets, direct guests to parking and provide other party information. On Saturday, the students will work at the NFL Experience, an interactive theme park offering participatory games, displays, entertainment attractions, kids’ clinics, free autograph sessions and a large football card show. On game day, they will work at NFL on Location, a corporate hospitality program in Dolphin Stadium with live entertainment, food and former NFL players. They will meet and greet NFL VIPs, clients, and sponsors, direct guests to the appropriate party and assist with other special event functions.

“The opportunity for the students to attend Super Bowl XLI in Miami speaks directly to their professional accomplishments. The selection process was rigorous, and they surpassed the committees’ expectations. These types of unique activities will contribute to the continued branding of the University of Tennessee and distinguish our sport
management program from others,” Polite said.

The two colleges, along with UT Athletics, adidas Partners in Sports, St. Mary’s Hospital and Bacon & Co. Inc. are partners in this event.

“The athletic department really appreciates the chance to support this opportunity for these students. Each year we are the direct beneficiaries of the work and talent of the students that are part of our sport management program. The stronger the program is, the stronger our department becomes,” said Chris Fuller, assistant athletics director for sales and marketing.

The dual-degree program recognizes that sports and sports-related companies often are represented by significant business enterprises, and success in these enterprises requires the application of business fundamentals, analytical techniques, and management skills within the specific context of the sports industry.

Sarah Gardial, associate dean of the College of Business Administration, said the Super Bowl trip points to the importance of collaboration.

“This opportunity is a direct result of the power of partnerships on campus and beyond. The UT MBA program is proud to help support this exceptional activity,” she said.

You can follow TEAM UT’s Super Bowl experience on the Web at http://teamut.blogspot.com.


Amy Blakely, (865) 974-5034, amy.blakely@tennessee.edu
Fritz Polite, (407) 758-0811 (cell phone)