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Proposed University of Tennessee budget includes millions for Vols' Neyland Stadium, baseball and basketball venues

The proposed Fiscal Year 2023 budget also projected to earmark some $200 million for athletics facilities

Part of a proposed 2023 fiscal year $566.89 million budget for the University of Tennessee system includes more than $7 million for Neyland Stadium “maintenance,” another $4 million-plus for Neyland Thompson Sports Center renovations and a whopping $56.8 million for top-ranked Tennessee baseball’s home inside Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

The proposed budget, viewed Tuesday by FootballScoop, also earmarked $28.3 for a new Thompson-Boling Arena Club inside the flagship school’s basketball arena in Knoxville. In sum, the proposed UT budget for FY ’23 requested some $200 million in direct line-item expenditures for athletics on Rocky Top – nearly 40% of the total requested.

Neyland Stadium presently is underdoing numerous renovations as part of what the school has said projected to be a $340 million project on the venerable home of the Volunteers, now more than a century old after its 1921 debut.

The Vols, amidst their second spring camp under coach Josh Heupel, are unable to hold a traditional spring game this year because of the ongoing renovations to Neyland Stadium, this phase of which is scheduled for completion prior to Tennessee’s 2022 football season. The current project includes a new north end, large-sized video board that required the stadium’s newest upper deck addition to have seats whittled out of its center in order to accommodate the jumbo screen. Artist renderings illustrate a proposed plaza area in Neyland Stadium's north end zone in front of the new board, the addition of which along with the other construction elements are expected to cause the venue's total capacity to dip below 100,000 for the first time in decades. 

Tennessee earlier razed its decades-old concrete base and aluminum bleachers as part of this project in that portion of the renovation.

The new proposed funding of $7.5 million is separate from the overall renovations project.

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So, too, is the largest-ever investment sum for Lindsey Nelson Stadium, home of Tennessee’s top-ranked Vols baseball program. The Vols just swept Ole Miss last weekend on the road to ascend to the top spot in D1’s national rankings.

Additional athletics-related expenditures proposed include almost $39 million for a brand-new indoor track facility -- $38.98 million to be precise – include $2 million for the volleyball program, $1.3 million for Thornton Athletics Center – where UT houses its academic assistance programs for student-athletes, among other elements – and $6.55 million for the tennis program’s Goodfriend Tennis Center home. The budget likewise proposed $15.2 million for renovation of the 14-year-old Jones Aquatic Center, which UT debuted in 2008 with a price tag of $24 million, per the school.

Tennessee also earmarked $15.2 million in funding to renovate Lee Stadium, home of Tennessee’s softball program.

Last fall, new Tennessee athletics director Danny White and school officials announced their plan to “modernize” ticket pricing elements for Vols’ home football games. It saw some tickets in less desirable areas of the stadium remain at an de facto flat rate but also dramatically increased the cost of other areas and essentially dismissed the school’s “grandfather-clause” season tickets program, which had been a staple in many families for generations. In some instances, the sum tickets cost went from a standard $1,000 donation plus the face value of the tickets along the West sideline to a price point around $5,000 per ticket.