Skip to main content

Russell Athletic is getting out of the uniform game

Russell Athletic and their parent company Fruit of the Loom announced on Thursday that they're getting out of the team uniform business.

As our own Zach Barnett covers annually in his Nike, Adidas, or Under Armour? Who Wears What in FBS - 2017 editionRussell Athletic represented a total of two FBS teams - Georgia Tech and Southern Miss. Ohio, Louisiana-Lafayette, and Western Kentucky were all rocking Russell threads in the past few years as well, before switching.

Both of those relationships have run their course, as Georgia Tech announced back in June they were looking for another apparel provider before announcing a partnership with Adidas in late August that will start in 2018. Southern Miss is still weighing their options as the five-year deal with Russell they signed back in mid-April of 2013 comes to a close.

As for other apparel providers, the big three remain dominant. The Nike swoosh is represented on 73 FBS playing football schools, 32 teams live the three-stripe life with Adidas, and Under Armour has 23 teams.

So where does Russell Athletic go from here? Senior VP for Brand Management Scott Greene shared the following in a statement via The Outlook.

“For over 115 years, Russell Athletic has provided quality apparel for athletes both on and off the field of play. We are proud of our heritage, but to build lasting relationships with a new generation of athletes, we will need to focus our efforts and play to our strengths.

“Today, we will begin to transition away from the team uniform business to allow greater emphasis on the consumer retail market. With this shift, we will continue to offer high quality athletic lifestyle and performance apparel for distribution through multiple retail and wholesale channels, including continued distribution of collegiate licensed products along with non-uniform apparel through the team dealer network.”

While the announcement only affects a small number of major college football teams, high school programs of all sports will be the ones hurt most by this. A good number of high school programs will now have to look at other options, as coaches relied on the Russell brand for years to provide quality, good-looking uniforms at an affordable price point.

Head here to read more.

With all that said, it's worth pointing out this quote yesterday from Paul Johnson at Georgia Tech.