University of Tennessee

UT Team Heads to New Jersey to Help with Super Bowl XLVIII

January 26, 2014

KNOXVILLE—A group of students, a faculty member and an alumna of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, will head to East Rutherford, N.J., next week to work behind the scenes at Super Bowl XLVIII, one of the largest one-day mega-sporting events in the world.

This year’s game, on Feb. 2, will feature the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks.

Debbie Mackey, a senior lecturer and director of the Human Resource Management master’s program, will lead the team. This is the eighth year a UT group has worked at the Super Bowl.

The UT team will be on site Jan. 29 to Feb. 3.

“This is such a valuable experience for the students, whether in sports management or business,” Mackey said. “The practical side of this experience will assist them in all aspects of business.”

The students will work with NFL on Location at various special events before and during the Super Bowl. They also will meet with ESPN professionals and learn about how to get started in the professional world. 

Students held fundraisers, including a dinner featuring former Vol and inspirational speaker Inky Johnson, to pay for their trip.

Team members:

  • Dani Polk, of Fishers, Ind., is a senior and double major in marketing and supply chain who will help lead the team. This is her third Super Bowl trip.
  • Destini Long, of Orlando, Fla., is a junior in retail and consumer science. This is her second Super Bowl trip.
  • Erika Morris, of Austell, Ga., is a second-year graduate student in sports management. This is her second Super Bowl trip.
  • Lizzy Van Dyke, of Denver, Colo., is a senior in sports management.
  • Whitley Rowlett, of Mt. Juliet, Tenn., is a senior in sports management.
  • Vincent Johnson, of Johnson City, Tenn., is a senior in journalism and electronic media.
  • Andrew Pankratz, of Rockwood, Tenn., is a senior in business management.
  • Courtney Bowditch, of Knoxville, Tenn., is a senior in human resources management.
  • Lexi Bottone is an alumna who will accompany the team. She works in sales for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.



Dani Polk (317-903-9661,

Debbie Mackey (865-974-7014,

Lola Alapo (865-974-3993,