College Corner: Vandy Baseball, UTK Football And Neyland Stadium, Belmont’s Evan Bradds

Vanderbilt Baseball Drops Full 2022 Schedule

Photo: Courtesy of Vanderbilt Athletics

Vanderbilt has released its 2022 baseball schedule and will play 55 games, 34 of which will be hosted at Hawkins Field, the complete 2022 schedule was unveiled Monday by head coach Tim Corbin who is entering his 20th season with the Commodores.

The Dores will start their season with a nine-game homestand, playing Oklahoma State (Feb. 18-20) then a weekend series against Army (Feb. 25-27), as well as midweek games against North Alabama (Feb. 22), Evansville (Feb. 23) and Central Arkansas (March 1). Vandy will take a long trip to Hawaii for its first road trip of the campaign, facing off with the Rainbow Warriors for a four-game road series.

Vanderbilt opens SEC play at home for the second year in a row, as the squad welcomes Missouri to Hawkins Field from March 18-20. The Commodores will also host league foes Tennessee (April 1-3), Florida (April 15-17), Texas A&M (April 29-May 1) and LSU (May 19-21).

The Commodores will face cross-town rivals Belmont (March 22) and Lipscomb (March 29) in neutral-site contests at First Tennessee Park.

 

 

UTK Updates Football Ticket Pricing, Additions To Neyland Stadium

Neyland Stadium. Photo: By Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics

Tennessee Athletics has finalized plans to implement a more simplified and modernized football ticket purchasing process beginning with the 2022 season.

Many season-ticket holders, beginning in the fall of 2022, will experience a price reduction. Access to season tickets will also be expanded to more of the Tennessee fanbase, as some areas within Neyland Stadium will not require an annual donation.

Along with the ticket changes, multiple new premium areas are scheduled for construction as outlined during this summer’s launch of the My All Campaign.’Sections impacted by new planned premium areas include the lower west (sections R-W, rows 1-22) and the upper north (sections YY7-YY9). Current season-ticket holders in these sections will have the right of first refusal for seats in this revamped space. There will be increases to the per-seat gift requirements coinciding with the enhanced amenities.

“From what I’ve heard thus far, I believe our fans are excited about the upgrades taking place at Neyland Stadium and the new areas we’re introducing next season,” says Tennessee Vice Chancellor/Director of Athletics Danny White. “With the lay of the land changing in several sections, it’s important to me that we communicate with our ticket holders throughout this process. They’ll have the rest of this season to assess which seating options work best for them.”

Fan experience upgrades include two new videoboards on the north and south ends of the stadium, a lower-west premium club, enhanced chairback seating in multiple lower-west sections and a party deck social gathering space on the stadium’s upper north end.

 

Former Belmont Basketball Star Evan Bradds Promoted Within Celtics Staff

Evan Bradds. Photo: Courtesy of Belmont Athletics

Former Belmont men’s basketball player Evan Bradds has been promoted to a player development coach role within the NBA’s Boston Celtics organization. Bradds is the Bruins NCAA Division I era career scoring leader.

Bradds graduated from Belmont in 2018 and joined the Celtics organization the same year. Bradds served as an assistant coach for the Maine Red Claws until he was called up to be a video assistant for the Celtics prior to Boston’s 2018 NBA playoffs run.

The Celtics are under the direction of first-year head coach Ime Udoka as Garrett Jackson, DJ Macleay and Steve Tchiengang were named to the team’s player enhancement staff with Bradds.

Tickets for Tennessee, Memphis Collegiate Basketball Game At Bridgestone On Sale

Bridgestone Arena. Photo of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp.

Tickets for the college basketball matchup between the Universities of Tennessee and Memphis at Bridgestone Arena on Dec. 18 are on sale now.

The cross-state rivals have met twice in the last four seasons, with Tennessee winning on the road in 2018 and Memphis returning the favor in Knoxville in 2019. It will stand as just the third neutral-site game to ever be played in the Tennessee-Memphis series, which dates back to 1969.

“Bridgestone Arena has long been a special venue for college basketball, and once again, we are excited to host two of the country’s premier programs in Tennessee and Memphis in December,” says Nashville Predators and Bridgestone Arena Executive Vice President of Entertainment and Venues David Kells. “We can’t wait to see fans from both sides of our state converge right here in Smashville for a rivalry matchup that will be sure to create an incredible atmosphere.”

The Volunteers and seventh-year Head Coach Rick Barnes enter the 2021-22 campaign after finishing fourth in the SEC and earning a spot in the NCAA Tournament last season. The Tennessee men’s basketball program has made the NCAA Tournament three straight seasons and 23 times overall, highlighted by a trip to the Elite Eight in 2010 and eight Sweet 16 appearances, the most recent coming in 2019.

“We’re excited to see another great Tennessee turnout,” Barnes says. “Every time the Vols play in Bridgestone Arena, Tennessee fans make their presence felt in a big way. With the SEC Tournament moving to Tampa this season, this game against Memphis allows us to continue our annual appearance on Broadway. We love Nashville, and we know Nashville loves the Vols.”

Memphis, led by fourth-year Head Coach Penny Hardaway, is coming off a 2020-21 season that saw the program win the NIT championship and finish with a 20-8 overall record. The Tigers have reached the Final Four on four occasions, finishing as Division I runners-up in 1973 and 2008.

“We are looking forward to the matchup against Tennessee on Dec. 18,” says Hardaway. “We hope to see a sea of blue at Bridgestone Arena as we take the court in front of our Nashville Tiger fans.”

This will be the 28th all-time game between the Volunteers and Tigers, with Tennessee leading the series 15-12. After meeting annually from 2006-13, the two schools went three seasons without a clash on the schedule before reviving the storied rivalry ahead of the 2017-18 campaign.

Belmont Women’s Basketball Unveil 2021-22 Schedule

Featured L-R: Tuti Jones, Destinee Wells, Jamilyn Kinney, Madison Bartley and Conley Chinn of the Belmont Women’s Basketball Team. Photo: Courtesy of Belmont Athletics

The Belmont women’s basketball team has released its 2021-22 season schedule which includes match-ups with Louisville, UCF, and Arkansas along with other Power Five schools.

The Bruins are coming off one of their most successful seasons ever, winning another Ohio Valley Conference Tournament title and then winning their first ever NCAA Tournament game against Gonzaga 64-59 in the Round of 64. This season, the Bruins have a difficult 11-game non-conference stretch comprised of six postseason teams from last year.

Four different teams who appear on Belmont’s non-conference schedule were either ranked or receiving votes in the final Associated Press Top 25 poll of the year which include No. 8 Louisville, No. 15 Arkansas, Georgia Teach and UCF.

“This year will be our most challenging non-conference schedule since I’ve been at Belmont, and I love that our players and program will have the opportunity to compete against some of the nation’s best players and coaches,” says head coach Bart Brooks. “I’m so grateful to have an administration and leadership at Belmont who are supportive of this challenging schedule. Every player who is on our roster came to Belmont to play in these kinds of games, and I’m excited by our growth and effort as we prepare to compete at the highest level this season.”

Belmont kicks off its season on Nov. 9 with a three-game road trip at Chattanooga, Ole Miss (Nov. 11) and Georgia Tech (Nov. 14). Belmont then hosts Alabama A&M for its home opener Thursday, Nov. 18 before returning to non-conference road action at UCF (Nov. 21) and Arkansas (Nov. 28), both 2021 NCAA Tournament participants. 

The Battle of the Boulevard returns after a one-year hiatus and will take place on Dec. 2 at the Curb Event Center, Belmont having won 11 consecutive games against the Bisons. The Bruins’ will face one of the most difficult opponents of the season, playing at reigning Atlantic Coast Conference regular season champion Louisville on Dec. 5. 

The Bruins will host a Power Five opponent for the first time since Dec. 12, 2013, as they take on the SEC’s Auburn on Dec. 15, making it the third SEC team Belmont will face. The game with the Tigers will be the first of Belmont’s lone three-game homestand of the year, which will be followed by a matchup with Middle Tennessee on Dec. 19 and WKU (Dec. 22) to wrap up non-conference play.

Belmont will defend its 2021 conference championship starting with road trips to SIUE (Dec. 30) and Eastern Illinois (Jan. 1) with Belmont’s OVC home opener set for Thursday, Jan. 6 against Southeast Missouri. Defending OVC regular season champion UT Martin will visit the Curb on Saturday, Jan. 29 after the Bruins visit Martin, Tennessee on Saturday, Jan. 8.

The Lady Bruins will return with nine letter winners and its entire starting lineup from 2020-21, including All-OVC First Team performers senior Conley Chinn and 2021 OVC Freshman of the Year Destinee Wells. Brooks, the third-fastest head coach to earn 100 career victories in NCAA Division I women’s basketball and 2020-21 Tennessee Sports Writers Association (TSWA) Coach of the Year, will enter his fifth season leading Belmont.

Belmont Men’s Basketball Releases 2021-22 Season Schedule

Belmont Head Coach Casey Alexander. Photo: Courtesy of Belmont Athletics.

The Belmont men’s basketball team has dropped its 2021-22 schedule which includes games against LSU, Saint Louis, and Drake University. The release also includes the full Ohio Valley Conference schedule.

After going 26-4 last season and earning its 20th conference championship since 2006–third-most nationally over that span behind only Kansas and Gonzaga–Belmont has grown into one of the best programs among all Division I basketball.

“Scheduling has become increasingly difficult for many reasons, but we’re thrilled with how this year’s non-conference schedule came together,” says Head Coach Casey Alexander. “We were able to create some balance between home, road, and neutral site games, as well as provide opportunities for our fans to support us whether we’re playing in the Curb (Event Center) or elsewhere.”

Belmont opens the season Nov. 9 at Mid-American Conference champion Ohio. From there, Belmont welcomes Evansville to the Curb Event Center on Nov. 13 for the home opener. Next, the Bruins host Southern Conference powerhouse Furman. One of the strongest mid-major programs in the nation the last few seasons, the Paladins return 12 letterwinners from a 16-9 team that played Alabama and Cincinnati to the wire.

Belmont will then travel to Kennesaw State, who they beat last season 64-53, on Nov. 19. Belmont heads to historic Pete Maravich Assembly Center to face LSU on Nov. 22 where Alexander will face LSU Head Coach and Nashville native Will Wade for the first time in seven seasons.

The Bruins will then head to Orlando, Florida, to play in the highly anticipated ESPN Invitational over the Thanksgiving Weekend. They will start off by playing Drake on Nov. 25 and then either Alabama or Iona. If Belmont wins its second game, they will play in the tournament final on Nov. 28.

“Our Thanksgiving week at LSU and the ESPN Events Invitational will be a great test against a number of Top 50 teams,” Alexander says. “We have some familiar opponents, but new series with Ohio, Furman and Chattanooga will be exciting and challenging. Overall, the slate is full of programs expecting to participate in March Madness next spring.”

This year’s Battle of the Boulevard will be played once at the Curb Event Center on Dec. 2, as opposed to the regular two games in past seasons. The Belmont and Lipscomb rivalry goes all the way to the 1980’s when both teams competed for NAIA Championships. The Bruins have won 16 of the last 18 meetings, including an 81-71 victory last season.

Belmont will head to Birmingham to play at Samford on Dec. 5. Leading into mid-December, Belmont heads out west to face Atlantic 10 Conference contender Saint Louis. Two seasons ago, the Bruins and Billikens played a highly-competitive game, with the Bruins leading in the final three minutes before falling on the game’s final possession.

Finishing up the non-conference part of the season, Belmont hosts Chattanooga on Dec. 15 and Bethel on Dec. 18. Belmont welcomes back athletic hall of famer and Bethel head coach Steve Drabyn (’04) to the Curb Event Center. Drabyn served on Alexander’s Lipscomb staff from 2011-19.

The Bruins will kick-off OVC play on the road by facing SIUE on Dec. 30 and Eastern Illinois on Jan. 1. Belmont’s conference home opener will be against Southeast Missouri. The Bruins will play each OVC team twice this season, once in Nashville and once away. Four of Belmont’s final six conference games will be at the Curb Event Center, including Feb. 26 vs. Tennessee State.

“I’m looking forward to the double round-robin conference schedule this year,” says Alexander. “Our players embrace the expectations and championship standard at Belmont.”

Belmont is 130-24 in Ohio Valley Conference games since joining the league.

College Corner: Liza Corso, MTSU Football & Bonnaroo, Hall Of Fame Tip-Off Tournament

Lipscomb Freshman Liza Corso Wins Silver At Tokyo Paralympics 

Liz Corso. Photo: Courtesy of Lipscomb Athletics

Lipscomb track & field runner Liza Corso took home the Silver medal at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics in the 1500m T13 on Saturday (Aug. 28). Corso finished with a personal best time of 4:30.67 to claim the medal.

Corso, a graduate of Portsmouth Christian Academy in Dover, New Hampshire, is the first Lipscomb student-athlete to compete and/or win a medal in the Paralympic Games. The 18-year-old is legally blind and has been running and participating in team sports since she was a young girl.

Corso will come back to Nashville with her Silver medal and is set to compete with the Bisons Track & Field and Cross Country programs this fall.

 

 

MTSU Football Offers Free Entry To Season Opener For Bonnaroo Ticket Holders 

MTSU is giving Bonnaroo ticket holders free entry into Saturday’s football opener between the Blue Raiders and Monmouth University on Sept. 4. The Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival was cancelled on Tuesday (Aug. 31) due to campground conditions from rain caused by Hurricane Ida.

“Our athletic department hurts for our friends in the Middle Tennessee community because of this setback,” says Director of Athletics Chris Massaro. “MTSU has a long history of the university and its alumni supporting Bonnaroo every year, both as guests and in its operation, and we hope that this offer to come to our campus and enjoy some Blue Raider football this Saturday can help those affected make the best out of an unfortunate circumstance.”

Ticket holders can show their Bonnaroo tickets at box offices located at Gates 1, 3 and 4 the day of the game to receive reserved seat tickets, while supplies last. Fans can enjoy many of the game day amenities around Floyd Stadium, including tailgating in the Grove, the Family Fun Zone, and the Blue Raider Beer Garden.

 

 

Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tickets On Sale September 10

Tickets for the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament will go on sale to the general public Friday, Sept. 10. The tournament will feature four teams, including the University of Tennessee.

The Volunteers will face Big East powerhouse Villanova while the University of North Carolina takes on Purdue in Connecticut from Nov. 20-21.

The Vols’ opening game against Villanova tips off at 12 p.m. CT on Saturday, Nov. 20 and will be televised on ESPN News. Also on Saturday, Purdue is slated to face North Carolina at 3 p.m. CT.

Pending the outcome of those two games, Tennessee will be matched up with Purdue or North Carolina on Sunday, Nov. 21 in either the championship game, televised on ABC at 12 p.m. CT, or the consolation game at 2:30 p.m. CT on ESPN.

Belmont Partners With INFLCR To Help Student-Athletes In NIL Era

Belmont University has announced a multi-year partnership with content platform company INFLCR to help its student-athletes prepare and transition into the Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) era. Belmont’s men’s and women’s basketball programs will leverage INFLCR’s content delivery platform and mobile app to help grow Bruin student-athlete brands. The partnership allows for additional Bruin teams to be added in the future.

“We are excited to announce our partnership with INFLCR to support Belmont student-athletes and celebrate team successes,” says new Belmont Vice President and Director of Athletics Scott Corley. “INFLCR will strengthen our ability to tell the Belmont story, providing tools and educational resources in the Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) landscape, streamlining the process for student-athletes to engage in compelling social media content.”

Belmont is the latest institution to partner with INFLCR to seamlessly share digital media with its athletes through the INFLCR app. The Bruins join over 100 colleges and universities that are using INFLCR’s technology to power messaging, student-athlete brand-building and NIL education.

“We’re thrilled to launch partnerships with the men’s and women’s basketball programs at Belmont,” says INFLCR founder and CEO Jim Cavale. “Through internal creative teams and national media, Bruin athletes will have access to vast amounts of digital content that they can easily share across their social feeds from their INFLCR app.”

INFLCR allows athletes and brand ambassadors better access to their content galleries through the INFLCR mobile app and can then share the content to their personal social media accounts. After the fact, schools are able to measure the increased audience engagement coming from the much-larger collective audience of those athletes and brand ambassadors.

Belmont Athletics Partners With Puckett’s Gro. & Restaurant

Puckett’s Gro. & Restaurant has partnered with Belmont Athletics, becoming the official barbecue of the Belmont Bruins. Central to the partnership are several new initiatives that will enhance the ticket package offerings for Belmont fans this season as well as give fans an opportunity to enjoy their favorite Puckett’s classics.

In addition to the official barbecue designation, Puckett’s will have use of official marks and logos and receive brand visibility via Belmont Athletics in-venue signage, broadcast media rights as well as digital and social channels.

“We’re excited for the opportunity to be the Official Barbecue of the Belmont Bruins and align our brands as two Nashville community staples,” Andy Marshall, CEO and Owner of A. Marshall Hospitality says. “We are excited to provide several new ticket enhancements for Belmont fans to enjoy a game at Curb Event Center and look forward to seeing Belmont fans in all of our area locations after a big win!”

The partnership will offer fans the “Puckett’s Flex Pack,” giving fans flexibility to attend Belmont basketball games around a busy schedule, and is available to be purchased as a 10 or 20 game pack of ticket vouchers that can be used throughout the season. New this season, each purchase of a 10 or 20 game Puckett’s Flex Pack includes a $10 Puckett’s gift card.

Additionally, Puckett’s is the proud sponsor of the Military Appreciation Ticket Program. Thanks to Puckett’s and Belmont Athletics, all active and retired military personnel will receive free single game admission to any Belmont home game in the 2021-22 season with a valid military photo ID.

Vanderbilt Men’s & Women’s Basketball Season Tickets Available Now

Memorial Gym. Photo: Courtesy of Vanderbilt Athletics

Season tickets are now available for the 2021-22 Vanderbilt men’s and women’s basketball seasons. Season ticket holders receive discounts at shop.vucommodores.com as well as the first chance at mini plans and single-game tickets before they go on sale to the general public.

Since a portion of each season ticket purchase will include a gift to the National Commodore Club, every season ticket holder will be recognized as a valued NCC member. Women’s season tickets start at $50, and Mr. C’s Kids Club members will receive free admission to women’s basketball games. Men’s season tickets start at $200. Tickets can be paid for in full or spread out with monthly payments. Season-long parking passes are also available for purchase.

The Vanderbilt men welcome back leading scorer and All-SEC first-team selection Scotty Pippen Jr. as the Vanderbilt women are set to begin their first season under the direction of new head coach Shea Ralph. Full 2021-22 schedules for both teams will be announced at a later date.

Capacity at Memorial Gym is expected to be 100 percent, but COVID-19 protocols and capacity limitations are subject to change depending on guidance from public health experts. Further details will be provided closer to the start of the season