Vols’ NIL expert to share expertise

Tom KingFarragut

In this new world of college sports, it’s known as “NIL” and players on many campuses are starting to make money, some big money, based on their individual NIL (name, image and likeness). The University of Tennessee is fertile ground for this game, too.


It’s a topic many fans do not completely understand. Are collegians becoming professionals? Is that line forever blurred? How does NIL and this money factor into recruiting? Will college athletes have agents while they are in school now? Will it create issues between players who make money and those who don’t? What’s the long-term benefits or consequences of NIL?

As one sportswriter who covers the SEC wrote: “Tennessee’s best chance to returning to national prominence is cold, hard cash.”

Katheryn Jones

The program at Wednesday’s meeting of the Rotary Club of Farragut on June 22 will be all about NIL at UT. The speaker will be Katheryn “Kat” Jones, who joined UT in September 2021 as the director of Name, Image and Likeness. Prior to moving to Knoxville, the Pensacola, Florida, native spent more than two years as assistant director of compliance at the University of Central Florida (UCF).

UT football coach Josh Heupel came here from UCF as did UT Athletic Director Danny White. There are no coincidences. Jones earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration/marketing from UCF and graduated from the Mississippi College School of Law in 2019.

She manages NIL education, monitoring and support efforts for UT’s 20 varsity sports and more than 500 student-athletes. She handles inquiries from internal and external stakeholders and coordinates pairing current UT student-athletes with campus and alumni networks and support. A key part of her job is compliance – working closely with the athletics compliance staff to oversee agent registration and ensuring NCAA, SEC and institutional policy adherence.

Tennessee Athletics also has initiated multiple strategic partnerships in addition to securing the services and expertise of the NIL-focused firm Altius Sports Partners. UT also worked closely with on-campus experts to enhance the university’s for-credit entrepreneurship minor in UT’s Haslam College of Business.

If you’d like to hear this timely discussion about a very interesting topic, come visit Farragut Rotary on Wednesday, June 22. The meeting begins at 12:15 p.m. at Fox Den Country Club. Arrive a little early to get your lunch prior to the program beginning.

Tom King has served at newspapers in Georgia, Tennessee, Texas and California and was the editor of two newspapers. Suggest future stories at tking535@gmail.com or call him at 865-659-3562

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