CAMILLE LEMKE; Sports Writer; email@example.com
Over the summer, the Pacific Lutheran University Athletics Department proudly announced its new, multi-year partnership with Under Armour. This news welcomes student-athletes, coaches and athletic faculty back to campus for the start of another academic year with more excitement and spirit than ever.
“Everyone on the football team is pretty excited about the partnership,” said junior cornerback Casey Ruether. “We’re all just waiting for it to kick in and get some new stuff. I’m personally most looking forward to the new jerseys and travel gear.”
The partnership specifies that over the next three years all of the 19 men’s and women’s teams at PLU will transition to practicing and playing in all Under Armour apparel. In the meantime, student-athletes across campus anxiously wait for the initial practice and travel gear to arrive.
At the All Sports kick-off on Thursday, Sept. 8, every athlete received an Under Armour PLU Athletics shirt. These shirts symbolize one of the many benefits of the partnership by facilitating a more unified atmosphere among all PLU athletic programs.
Prior to the Under Armour partnership, every team provided their own gear, with little consistency from sport to sport.
“Going from where we were at, from not having a consistent brand to having a consistent brand across all sports elevates our athletes,” said head women’s rowing coach Andy Foltz. “It provides a certain amount of swag appeal. Every athlete will have a uniform departmental look that says you are a student-athlete at PLU.”
Clearly, to student-athletes, coaches and the athletic faculty, this partnership means more for PLU Athletics than just new apparel.
“It’s going to be nice to finally be wearing all the same stuff as opposed to previous years where it’s been a mix of different brands,” Ruether said. “Every athlete wearing Under Armour brings unity to the athletic department as a whole.”
PLU leads the way in terms of this partnership by being the only school in the Northwest Conference to partner with Under Armour, which is a huge deal to athletes and coaches alike.
“This is a very good thing for our department and for our school,” said women’s rowing coach Andy Foltz.
The PLU community will find that the positive impacts of this partnership will reach out beyond just the athletes who will be receiving new apparel starting this fall.
“A big component of going into this partnership was to have the whole department get together, to get money back and give back to the fans,” Foltz said.
“For every dollar we spend we get money kicked back to the department as a whole,” Foltz said. “For example, if the football and rowing team receive 200 shirts at $10 a shirt, a portion of that money comes back to the department. Then the department can provide further give away gear to give back to the fans to enhance their experience at games.”
The Under Armour partnership has everyone who is involved in athletics excited for the future of PLU sports programs. It provides a sense of legitimacy through departmental unification which was lacking previously. Student-athletes know that they are part of a special program here at PLU, but now they will be able to see it too.