Long-time Tennessee Lady Vol fans may remember the original "BoostHer" Club, established in 1979 to increase fan support for all women's intercollegiate sports. This coincided with the years that UT had a separate Women's Athletics Department, with an Athletic Director responsible just for the women's program.
The club's purpose was to provide financial assistance for athletic scholarships to build and maintain a total academic and athletic program of excellence and increase active spectator participation for all women's sports competitions. The UT Women's Athletic Department directly sponsored the early BoosterHer Club and throughout the years, members enjoyed several annual fund-raising events, including "Spectator Camp," 5k fun runs, and the always-anticipated "Black Tie and Tennis Shoe" gala that raised tens of thousands of dollars for Lady Vol scholarships.
When the Women's Athletic Department was dissolved, and women's sports moved under the overall athletics program, the BoostHer club was no more. Any monies donated to UT Athletics went to the newly created "Tennessee Fund" and were administered to both men's and women's sports.
The introduction of the NIL policy by the NCAA in 2021 provides college athletes the ability of college athletes to earn money off their "name, image, and likeness." While NIL does not change the rules for awarding athletic scholarships, it does allow athletes to make money from personal appearances, t-shirt sales, product endorsements, or other appropriate opportunities.
Tennessee female athletes were able to capitalize on this program from the beginning by partnering with Terri Holder and Orange Mountain Designs, a Knoxville area Lady Vol merchandise store. With personalized shirts and "shir-zees" featuring name and jersey number, the players began to benefit from the sales at the store and online.
With the success from the basketball players, the partnership moved on to other Lady Vol sports, including softball and soccer. Realizing that the NIL required full-time attention and branding, Terri has focused her attention and launched a NEW Boost(Her) Club to provide ongoing NIL opportunities for athletes from all women's sports at Tennessee.
Boost(Her) Club members can look forward to events similar to the ones they remember, plus many more! NIL rules permit the student-athletes to appear at events such as meet-and-greets, autograph signings, bowling events, golf tournaments, ice cream parties and galas. An important component of these events will be the opportunity for Lady Vols from all sports to impact and give back to the local community. Already, events have benefitted the Knox Youth Sports Foundation, Alex's Lemonade Stand, and Maryville Little League. Stay tuned for even more events coming up – make sure you're a member so you don't miss out!