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TEAM UTKNOXVILLE—A group of University of Tennessee, Knoxville, students and one faculty member will help prepare special events and conduct other behind-the-scenes work at this year’s NFL Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis, Indiana.

TEAM UT, a mix of undergraduate and graduate students, will work directly with the Indianapolis Host Super Bowl XLVI Committee for the February 5 event.

The group will be in Indiana February 2 to 7.

This is the sixth year a UT Knoxville team has gone to the Super Bowl.

TEAM UT has been a part of Super Bowls XLI (Miami), XLII (Arizona), XLIII (Tampa), XLIV (Miami), and XLV (North Texas).

The concept is the brainchild of Fritz G. Polite, a UT clinical professor of sport management and director and founder of the Institute for Leadership, Ethics, and Diversity. He also is director for community outreach and global engagement in the UT College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences.

“The Super Bowl experience provides a real-world opportunity for UT students preparing for careers in the sports industry,” said Bob Rider, dean of the UT College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences. “The University of Tennessee is the only institution of higher education that receives credentials from the NFL to participate in what’s known as the largest event of its type in the world. This recognition distinguishes our students, our college, and our university.”

To be part of TEAM UT, students underwent a rigorous selection process that included writing essays about their five- and ten-year career goals and how being a part of the team would help achieve them. They also were interviewed and were required to submit a professional portfolio with business cards and resumes.

The team is paying its own way to Indianapolis. Members have been raising funds to defray expenses. Two students who attended the Super Bowl in North Texas last year are part of TEAM UT as co-directors this year.

Team members:

  • Alex Loeb, of Brentwood, co-director of TEAM UT, is a second-year student in UT’s Dual MBA/MS-Sport Management Program. He has interned with the Knoxville News Sentinel, West Ham United and the UT athletic department.
  • Ben Messerli, of Marion, Iowa, co-director of TEAM UT, will receive a master’s degree in sport management in May. He has interned with two Division I athletic programs, including stints at the Air Force Academy and the University of Iowa Football Office.
  • Alexandra Bottone, of South Kingstown, Rhode Island, is a senior majoring in sports management with a minor in business administration. She interned last summer for the International Tennis Hall of Fame and Museum and is working in the UT Athletic Department marketing office.
  • Andrew Busa, of Louisville, Kentucky, is a junior in sport management with a minor in business finance. He spent his first two years as a manager for the UT men’s basketball team and is currently a manager for the UT baseball team.
  • Ryan Jones, of Raleigh, North Carolina, is a first-year dual MBA/MS-Sport Management major. He has interned with the athletic departments at North Carolina State University, Shaw University, and with the Carolina Hurricanes. He is currently interning with the UT Athletic Department marketing office.
  • Kylie Pearse, of Knoxville, is a first-year MBA student in marketing. She is the campus visit coordinator for the full-time MBA program and has interned with WBIR Channel 10 News and Hola Hora Latina.
  • Kristen Petway, of Nashville, is a sophomore in sport management with minors in business administration and Spanish. She has studied abroad in multiple cities in Spain and has interned for D1 Sports Training’s corporate marketing office.
  • Danielle Polk, of Fishers, Indiana, is a freshman, with a double major in marketing and sign language interpreting. She is the second freshman selected to be on TEAM UT.

Follow TEAM UT on Twitter @TEAM_UT and on Facebook at!/pages/Team-UT/262887510416414.


Lola Alapo (865-974-3993,

Ben Messerli (319-270-8535,