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ACU begins Nike era as partnership begins

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ABILENE, TX - Just about nine months after announcing its agreement with the world's leading athletics apparel company, the Abilene Christian University department of athletics is ready to sport the swoosh as its five-year deal with Nike begins Friday (July 1).

When ACU Director of Athletics Lee De Len announced the deal with Nike last September, the Wildcats still had almost a full season left to play wearing Adidas. However, beginning Friday, ACU joins Texas, TCU, Baylor, SMU and Houston as the only schools in Texas to have exclusive Nike contracts.

"This has already been great for recruiting," De Len said. "When we tell recruits we have the only Nike contract in the Southland Conference, their eyes light up. It means something to kids that we've aligned ourselves with Nike, and I think it's just one of the many things that has us uniquely positioned moving forward."

Nike will be the exclusive manufacturer of all Abilene Christian game uniforms, practice gear, sideline apparel and other equipment during the life of the five-year agreement.

Nike is the exclusive apparel provider for a number of major NCAA Division I universities in the nation, including Duke, Florida, Florida State, Kentucky, LSU, North Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, Ohio State, Michigan State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Syracuse, UConn and USC. ACU becomes the third school to switch to Nike in recent months, joining Michigan and Tennessee.

"This move puts us on a stage with some of the top collegiate athletics programs and top athletes in the world," De Len said. "Adidas has been a great partner for the last three years, but Nike gives us the opportunity to really enhance the student-athlete experience at ACU. We are absolutely thrilled to be part of the Nike family."

This partnership also offers a new level of enticement for recruits deciding to play at ACU.

"That's a big deal," De Len explained. "Their eyes light up. People are really surprised that we're one of only five schools in the state of Texas to have Nike. They don't realize how exclusive it is. The best teams in the country are Nike and so when we have the same affiliation as they do, that sells with recruits."

-Information provided by ACU Athletics

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