When the Tennessee Vols hired Danny White in January to replace Phillip Fulmer as the program’s athletic director, it signaled that UT was ready to enter a new era.

For the last 10-15 years, the Vols have essentially been stuck in the past. They’ve unsuccessfully tried to recreate past success, instead of evolving like other successful college programs.

That approach, however, is changing with White at the helm.

White proved during his time at UCF that he was a progressive athletic director. He brashly suggested that UCF won a national championship in 2017 after going 13-0 under Scott Frost. White even had a 2017 National Champions banner installed at UCF’s stadium.

White knows what he’s doing when it comes to marketing, which is extremely important as we enter a new age of college football.

That’s why it shouldn’t be a surprise that White and Tennessee are ahead of the game when it comes to handling Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) changes that are coming to the sport.

Athletes will soon be allowed to profit off their NIL. The Vols, under White’s leadership, are being proactive instead of reactive.

On Thursday, Tennessee unveiled its plan to “empower student-athletes for now and for the future in NIL”.

This plan, which Tennessee describes as “the most comprehensive collection of resources” in college football, includes for-credit courses that focus on brand development, personal finance, public relations, and more. The courses are part of an Entrepreneurship minor.

“Educating our student-athletes is the key to helping them maximize their opportunities relative to NIL,” said White in a release.

“As an institution of higher learning, it was important that our NIL program include a comprehensive educational component. This program assures current and future Vols and Lady Vols that the University of Tennessee is prepared to guide them in effectively managing, expanding, and enhancing the value of their personal brands.”

While this is obviously a collaborative effort among the leaders at Tennessee, I think it’s safe to say that this probably wouldn’t have been rolled out in this manner without White serving as UT’s athletic director.

White is going to make sure that Tennessee is at the forefront of the major changes that are coming to college football in the coming years.

This is exactly why the Vols went to Orlando to swipe White from UCF.

And this is only the beginning.

Featured image via UTsports.com