Annual Tennessee vs. Florida blood drive still too close to call

MEDIC's sign outside the University Center. Source: Harrison Alexander.

As Butch Jones and Will Muschamp were respectively preparing this week for the always-anticipated rivalry game, students and staff on each campus were competing in the annual Tennessee vs. Florida blood drive. For over twelve years now, Knoxville’s MEDIC Regional Blood Center has set up shop on campus during Tennessee-Florida week to take blood donations from UT staff, students, and faculty in a constructive competition against Florida’s simultaneous blood drive in Gainesville.

MEDIC's donation station in the University Center.
MEDIC’s donation station in the University Center. Source: Harrison Alexander.

From 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. – Monday thru Friday – MEDIC Blood Center had blood donation areas set up in the University Center and the Medic Clinic on Western Avenue. Blood donation is vitally important to medical centers and hospitals because there it’s always a commodity in demand, and if you can’t beat Florida on the field, you might as well beat them in a blood drive.

The blood draw station set up by Starbucks had a steady flow of participants, and on the final day of donations Mike Prowl of MEDIC said it looks to stay busy. “I’d say we get at least 100 heads a day here,” said Prowl, adding that the process in its entirety takes “about 30 to 40 minutes.” Aside from all the good that the blood donations are doing for current and future medical patients, Tennessee holds the lead over Florida. MEDIC Regional Blood Center announced on its Facebook page Thursday night that the tally was 966-914 in favor of UT, but Prowl was able to provide an update. “When I checked [Friday] morning, [Florida] had 33 less than us; we had around 986,” meaning the approximate tally on Friday morning was 986-953.

Source: MEDIC Regional Blood Center's Facebook page.
Source: MEDIC Regional Blood Center’s Facebook page.

To offer further incentive, MEDIC gave each student donator a bundle of free stuff. Students get a free “Brick by Brick” shirt, coupon for a free frosty at Wendy’s, and a coupon for free cheese pizza from Snappy Tomato.

Prowl has worked the annual UT vs. UF blood drive on campus each September for over 12 years now, but he also talked about the annual UT vs. UK blood drive in November. “It used to only be Kentucky week, and they’ve been doing [the blood drive] on Kentucky week for around 24 years,” – this November will be the 26th annual UT vs. UK blood drive.

Both schools are on pace to donate a combined 2,000 pints of blood: that’s the equivalent of 237 empty 2-liter bottles all being filled up. Both universities are providing a great service to their communities, and adding a competitive spirit makes for a stronger turnout.

Edited by: Zach Dennis