It brings me great pleasure to share with you that our long, national nightmare is over.
As the clock struck midnight early this morning, Georgia Tech is officially no longer under contract with Russell Athletic. The Institute is officially an Adidas school. (And damn, does it feel good to write that.)
We’ve discussed for years the issue that Georgia Tech has had with branding, no more visible than in its ongoing affiliation with a brand that recruits loathe and from which peer institutions have been separating from in droves.
The official transition is being met with minimal fanfare from the school or its new apparel partner -- other schools making similar transitions lately have had big release parties and opportunities to be the first to purchase new merch, while Georgia Tech & Adidas will settle for a few social media hits and a promise of more releases in the coming months. Despite the subdued nature of the occasion, make no mistake about it – today officially signifies a milestone that begins new era in Georgia Tech’s Athletics’ Department.
The final column I wrote before stepping out of my role as manager at FTRS was about how impressed I was at Todd Stansbury’s impact and progress in such a short time as Athletic Director on the Flats, especially in comparison to the stagnation and inaction of his predecessor. In the time since I posted that article, I’ve only continued to be impressed with the things Stansbury has done in attempting to get Georgia Tech’s Athletics’ Department to “catch up” to others after so much went unattended to in previous years. Between starting a major fundraising effort for enhancing the ability of Georgia Tech’s teams to compete and reinventing the buildings that serve as GTAA’s epicenter, to driving unprecedented levels of GTAA alumni involvement, to making major investments and updates to the branding of Georgia Tech Athletics, one thing is clearer than ever: Todd Stansbury and his department are 100% committed to the success of the Yellow Jackets’ athletics programs, both on and off the field.
The separation from Russell Athletic marks the end of an era on the Flats marked by inaction and misplaced priorities, and the beginning of a new era, wherein Georgia Tech is making the investments and taking the actions necessary to consistently compete across the board.
Keep in mind here – in most cases, fixing its branding and becoming an Adidas school doesn’t create any sort of specific advantage for Georgia Tech. Having a standard wordmark and a defined “Tech Gold” aren’t major selling points for the Yellow Jackets against their competition. What it does do, though, is remove the disadvantages that the department had created for itself over the last decade-plus. No longer is Georgia Tech a school with subpar gear and a completely disorganized brand – instead, it’s got quality gear and cohesive branding on a level that matches (or exceeds) that of its competition. Instead of sticking out from neighboring programs for all the wrong reasons and having to defend itself against poor perception, Georgia Tech has enabled itself to focus on the differentiators that make it a great destination for college athletes nationwide.
Changing the brand logo on Georgia Tech’s gear is only part of what makes this day a monumental one for Yellow Jacket fans, players, and coaches. It’s a day where we see a major step forward from a department that, over the past few years, has regularly left us feeling as though it’s capable of more than it’s been achieving. It’s a day where fans can take solace in knowing that even bigger things and brighter days await in the near future on the Flats.
Welcome to the Three Stripe Life.
Welcome to a new era in Georgia Tech Athletics.