University of Tennessee offers boy 4-year scholarship after viral T-shirt

PHOTO: This Sept. 30, 2017, file photo shows a general view as fans congregate along Phillip Fulmer Way near campus prior to a game between the Tennessee Volunteers and Georgia Bulldogs at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn.PlayJoe Robbins/Getty Images, FILE
WATCH UT offers scholarship to young Vols fan

A young boy whose homemade University of Tennessee T-shirt went viral has been offered a four-year scholarship to the school.

"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," the university announced in a press release on Thursday. "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 also said that officials have spoken with the boy's mother several times and that she "has expressed gratitude to the university and said the family has been deeply touched by the overwhelming outpouring from people around the world."

The fourth grader's story that inspired the design of an official school T-shirt garnered national attention on Saturday went viral and prompted a positive discussion around anti-bullying.

The unnamed Altamonte Springs, Florida, boy was bullied at lunch for wearing a homemade "U.T." shirt during college colors week. His teacher, Laura Snyder, shared his story on Facebook and word quickly spread to the university.

PHOTO: The University of Tennessee is now selling a Florida elementary students design after he was bullied. VolShop/Twitter
The University of Tennessee is now selling a Florida elementary student's design after he was bullied.

The university credited its alumni, fans and "honorary Volunteers" who stepped up in response to the young boy's story.

"More than 50,000 shirts featuring the boy's design have been pre-sold by the VolShop," the school said. "All proceeds from the sale of the shirts will go directly to the charity Stomp Out Bullying. The university will cover the cost of the scholarship separately. Orders will begin shipping later this month."

PHOTO: This Sept. 30, 2017, file photo shows a general view as fans congregate along Phillip Fulmer Way near campus prior to a game between the Tennessee Volunteers and Georgia Bulldogs at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn. Joe Robbins/Getty Images, FILE
This Sept. 30, 2017, file photo shows a general view as fans congregate along Phillip Fulmer Way near campus prior to a game between the Tennessee Volunteers and Georgia Bulldogs at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn.

University of Tennessee chancellor, Donde Plowman, tweeted the news when the official campus store sold out of more than 16,000 T-shirts.

Demand for the inspiring hand-drawn shirt was so high that the school's website even crashed.

Ross Ellis, founder and CEO of STOMP Out Bullying, told ABC News that while she's happy this will raise awareness of the issue of bullying, she's most happy for the child.

"This little boy is getting his justice, and I'm so thrilled for him," Ellis said. "You just can't pick on a kid and think this is OK. For him to get his justice, is just like winning a peace prize, because no one is going to bully him anymore."