On Nov. 16, 2013, Northwestern lost a thriller at home versus Michigan in triple-overtime, 27-19. On gameday, Northwestern partnered with Under Armour, its apparel provider, and the Wounded Warrior Project, to produce special patriotic jerseys for the game.
Although the game result came and went, the influence of the jerseys is ongoing.
From the Monday of game week (Nov. 11) to the Wednesday after the game (Nov. 20), Northwestern opened an online auction for all of the game-issue jerseys worn by the Wildcats. The auction was hosted on nusports.com and 100 percent of the proceeds benefitted the Wounded Warrior Project. Publicity for the auction was helped by shoutouts on media outlets such as ESPN’s College GameDay, Fox Sports 1’s pregame show and the Big Ten Network.
Despite the loss against the Wolverines, NU recently announced that the auction raised more than $119,000. According to Northwestern Director of Athletic Communications Paul Kennedy, the auction was the most successful NCAA/WWP auction Under Armour has done to date.
Along with the game-issued jersey sales, a portion of retail sales for the replica uniforms was given to Northwestern. NU donated 100 percent of these proceeds to the Wounded Warrior Project.
Northwestern’s relationship with the Wounded Warrior Project predates the auction. NU honors a Wounded Warrior on the field at every football game and on the court at most basketball games.
For veterans with Northwestern connections, the auction represented more than just a philanthropy event.
“The e-mails/calls of support and thanks we received from Wildcats fans and alumni were overwhelming throughout the process,” Kennedy said.
According to Kennedy, the jersey auctioned off for the highest amount was Northwestern’s number 13 jersey.
Under Armour and the Wounded Warrior Project have partnered since 2009 to supply NCAA Division I football teams with specially-designed uniforms. Instead of using the players’ names, Northwestern’s WWP jerseys bore the seven core value embellishments: duty, honor, courage, commitment, integrity, country and service.
“We’re extremely proud to have raised over $119,000 for a very worthy cause and can’t thank our fans enough for their help in that,” Kennedy said.