KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The young Vol fan who was bullied for making his own UT T-shirt will get to go to the University of Tennessee for free.
A photo of the Florida boy wearing the shirt he made went viral this month after his teacher shared a message on Facebook about how he was bullied for wearing it.
According to a Facebook post from his teacher, Laura Snyder, the boy wanted to represent the Vols on college colors day at his elementary school, but he didn't have a UT shirt. So he got creative, making his own by drawing a UT logo on a white piece of paper and pinning it on an orange shirt.
"In recognition of the fourth-grader’s Volunteer spirit, the university has extended an offer of admission for him to join the Class of 2032. In addition, he has been awarded a four-year scholarship covering his tuition and fees beginning fall 2028 should he decide to attend UT and meet admission requirements," the university said Thursday.
His scribbles and uneven letters touched hearts from all over.
Immediately, Vol Nation united to send the boy a box full of Tennessee gear.
The Vol Shop, UT Athletics, and the UT Alumni Association put together a 35-pound box full of Big Orange goodies and overnighted it to him.
It was such a hit the VolShop started selling a re-creation of the shirt with 100% of the proceeds benefiting the nonprofit "Stomp Out Bullying" per request of the boy's mom.
Shortly after the shirt was added to the VolShop's website, the site crashed because so many people wanted to get their hands on one.
More than 50,000 shirts featuring his design have been pre-sold by the VolShop as alumni, fans, and honorary Volunteers learn about the story and want to join in on the cause.
The university will cover the cost of the scholarship separately, a release said.
Orders will begin shipping later this month.
"University officials have spoken several times with the boy’s mother, who has expressed gratitude to the university and said the family has been deeply touched by the overwhelming outpouring from people around the world," the release said.
The shirt became even larger than life with a display of it on UT's campus at the Rock.
As it continued to be shared on social media, many fans asked if there was more they could do. They wanted to raise money to invite the boy to come to a Tennessee game in Neyland Stadium and asked the university to give him a scholarship.
The university responded and did just that.
The Vol Shop is selling the T-shirts for $14.99. People can buy the shirts on pre-order. Want to buy the shirt yourself? Click here.