Over the summer, Waynesburg University created a new five-year agreement with BSN Sports and Nike as the Yellow Jacket’s official apparel sponsor. Through BSN Sports, Nike will serve as the exclusive outfitter for all 20 Yellow Jacket athletic teams.
“Waynesburg University is pleased to sign this agreement that strengthens its partnership with BSN Sports,” said Larry Marshall, Waynesburg University’s director of Athletics, in a press release published July 4 by the university. “The quality of the companies we are partnering with will enhance the athletic experience for our students.”
In response to the new agreement, Marshall said the university will receive several discounts on Nike athletic apparel and accessories such as banners and pop-up tents for events.
Marshall said the five-year agreement includes numerous incentives in the form of discounts and rewards along with incentives for on-field achievements.
“This partnership is a better relationship for what we need,” Marshall said. “It would be silly not to do it.”
On Sept. 3, nearly two months after the contract was finalized, Nike released a controversial advertisement for their “Just Do It” campaign. The ad featured Colin Kaepernick, a former NFL player who gained notoriety as the first to kneel during the national anthem at a game in protest against police brutality.
Because of the controversial nature of his actions, several individuals and organizations boycotted Nike because of their belief that Kaepernick disrespected the flag and the country, according to reports from Vox.
Despite the controversy surrounding Nike, Marshall said none of the boycotts would impact the university’s new relationship with the company.
“[The Nike controversy] doesn’t affect anything we are doing here,” Marshall said. “We don’t have any banners that are going up with Colin Kaepernick’s face. Individual coaches might be upset about it, but I haven’t heard anything. It’s your personal belief, really.”
Even though the partnership between Nike and Waynesburg occurred months before the advertisement aired, Marshall said it is still something to be proud of.
“Everybody loves the Nike equipment, so the partnership just made it so much easier,” Marshall said. “Every school in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference has a contract signed with BSN Sports and Nike.”
Marshall said his own personal beliefs are torn on the subject. His daughter serves as a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy, so he said he has an added respect for those who serve. However, Marshall said he also respects what Kaepernick has done to make a statement for something that matters.
“I am proud of the military and what they are doing,” Marshall said. “I respect what Colin is doing, but I wish they would come up with some other way of doing it. I think that’s what most people are thinking.”