When Georgia Tech walked off the Barclays Center floor Tuesday afternoon after its ACC Tournament loss to Boston College, the moment in a way represented the end of the athletic department’s partnership with Russell Athletic.
At the core of schools’ relationships with apparel and shoe companies is the brand exposure provided through their football and men’s basketball teams, and the latter’s loss Tuesday ended the season for Tech.
While Tech spring-sport teams will continue to wear Russell Athletic gear through the ends of their seasons, the next time that most Yellow Jackets fans will see a game in person or on television likely will occur in the football season, beginning with the opener against Alcorn State on Sept. 1 at Bobby Dodd Stadium, when the team will be clad in Adidas uniforms and cleats. The company and school signed an apparel agreement in August.
The athletic department’s contract with Adidas begins July 1, which is when the company can begin selling Tech gear to the public. The athletic department has been working closely with Adidas in planning the design of uniforms and an overall look.
The partnership with Russell Athletic, which is paying Tech $950,000 this fiscal year and providing $1.35 million in apparel, was long derided by fans and Jackets athletes, who griped about the company’s perceived lack of cool and the limited options for purchase.
Tech guard Josh Okogie downplayed the change, “but I’m happy we’ve got Adidas,” he said. “I can say that.”