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WWE Signs Tennessee Track & Field Star to NIL Contract

WWE, or World Wrestling Entertainment, has announced the signing of University of Tennessee track and field star Chandler Hayden to a developmental contract.

The announcement came in the form of a social media post made by WWE on Monday.

WWE Tennessee
Tennessee track and field athlete Chandler Hayden. Photo by WWE (@WWE) on Twitter.

WWE’s Next-In-Line program stems from the recent NIL (name, image, and likeness) trend that has engulfed the world of college athletics in the last few years. WWE’s program has the goal of training the company’s next superstar performers following their collegiate careers.

“WWE’s comprehensive NIL program launched in December and serves to recruit and develop potential future Superstars, and further enhances WWE’s talent development process through collaborative partnerships with college athletes from diverse athletic backgrounds,” the press release from WWE stated on Monday. “‘Next In Line’ has signed 31 full-time college athletes since its inception and currently has 25 active athletes following the graduation of six inaugural members from the program.”

See Also from RTI: The College Baseball World Might Not Like Tennessee, But Knoxville Loves the Vols

Chandler Hayden, a 5-foot-11 redshirt sophomore from Pittsfield, Illinois specializes in the shot put and hammer throws while competing for Tennessee. During the 2021-2022 track and field season, Hayden achieved a new personal record with a 20.26-meter throw of a 20-pound weight. That throw from Hayden also vaulted her into the third spot in Tennessee’s all-time historic rankings for shot put.

Bianca Belair
WWE Superstar Bianca Belair in Knoxville – September 2021. Photo via @BiancaBelairWWE on Twitter.

WWE’s history with the University of Tennessee dates back a few decades. Before becoming a star in the infamous NWO faction, Kevin Nash was a former center for the Tennessee basketball team from 1977 to 1980, despite not returning for his fourth and final year. In addition, former Tennessee track athlete Bianca Belair has become one of the company’s biggest stars in today’s day and age.

Belair, whose real name is Bianca Crawford, grew up in Knoxville and attended Austin-East High School before taking her athletic talents to South Carolina and Texas A&M. However, after a rough start to her collegiate career running track, Belair returned to Knoxville and joined Tennessee’s track and field team. Belair was eventually named an All-SEC and All-American competitor while making the SEC Academic Honor Roll as well. Following her time at Tennessee, Belair eventually made it to WWE and is now a Royal Rumble winner and two-time World Champion.

Current Tennessee track and field star Chandler Hayden is looking to become the next great VFL in WWE.

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