The University of Tennessee, Knoxville began sponsoring the Science Olympiad State Tournament in 1994.
Prior to 1994, the American Museum of Science and Energy (AMSE) in Oak Ridge sponsored the state tournament. When a reorganization of that museum made it impossible to continue sponsoring the tournament, UT assumed the sponsorship. Tom Broadhead (Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences) was the first director at UT, serving from 1994-96. The second director was Don Byerly (Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences), the third director was Ken Monty (Professor of Biochemistry, Cellular, and Molecular Biology), the fourth director was David Smith, Associate Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. The fifth director was Jon Levin (Professor of Physics). The sixth director was Jeff Kovac, Professor of Chemistry and seventh was Ted Labotka, Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences. On March 23, 2015, it was announced that Dr. Nivedita (Nita) Ganguly would take on the role as Director. Nita is a Master Teach for the VolsTeach Program at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville Campus.
The current administrative home for the Tennessee Science Olympiad State Tournament is the the College of Arts & Sciences. Science Olympiad is supported, as well, by the College of Engineering, the Center for Enhancing Education in Mathematics and Sciences (CEEMS), and the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences.