Monday afternoon, Western Kentucky University announced that the school and its Bowling Green based partner Russell Athletic will mutually part ways effective June 30th, 2017.
BREAKING: WKU and Russell Athletic have agreed to mutually discontinue their on-field sponsorship agreement effective June 30,2017.— WKU Herald Sports (@wkuheraldsports) April 24, 2017
Included in the announcement is the fact that WKU looks to already have a new partner lined up for a five-year deal for an undisclosed amount. The name of the new apparel partner has not been revealed yet, but will likely be announced later this week, per Chad Bishop of WBKO.
This comes as a bit of a surprise as WKU announced a five-year extension to their deal with Russell Athletic back in August of 2015. The two parties have had an on-field apparel deal since 2007.
Likely, whichever company (assumedly between Adidas, Nike, and Under Armour) the Tops have lined up are looking to cash in on the success of the football program, as well as the athletic department in general, as WKU has enjoyed a ton of success in numerous sports the last few year.
WKU football has won three straight bowl games along with two straight C-USA Championships while the men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball programs have also enjoyed success of their own.
Russell also lost Ohio earlier this year to Adidas. While they do still have a sponsorship deal with Georgia Tech, that deal expires in July of 2018. Russell’s current portfolio includes mostly FCS schools along with a few other G5 teams. Most of the C-USA teams have deals with Nike, while four wear Adidas and Southern Miss wears Russell.
If we’re going to speculate about who the new apparel sponsor actually is, I can really see it going either way. Adidas has made some recent signings with Ohio and Rutgers earlier this year so they have some steam built up. However, I can also see Under Armour looking for a chance to expand their CUSA footprint. Plus, the Tops already wear Under Armour cleats, as those weren’t a part of the deal with Russell.
Either way, the news for Tops fans is this: NEW SUITS!
UPDATE : Well, there you go.