Tennessee didn’t win any true championships in 2016, but the program is still celebrating a couple accomplishments with some bling.
The athletic department spent a total of $39,793 on rings and pendants to celebrate both the victory over Virginia Tech in the Battle at Bristol and the Music City Bowl victory over Nebraska, according to records obtained by the Knoxville News Sentinel.
Most of those funds went towards the bowl jewelry, which has become a tradition under Butch Jones at Tennessee. $37,193 was spent on the bowl rings commemorating the 38-24 win in Nashville, while the Vols spent an additional $1,113 on Music City Bowl pendants. The remaining $2,600 went towards additional Battle at Bristol rings, supplementing the over 100 rings the team received from the event.
Tennessee receiving rings for accomplishments short of a league title has been a controversial issue for the fan base. Butch Jones said in the past that he views rings as a way to tell the story of a given season.
But in a year where Tennessee fell short of actual championship aspirations, it’s understandable that there’s a bit of a stigma with the team paying ro rings for a win in a mid-tier bowl game.