The boat rowing for P.J. Fleck will officially and fittingly continue in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
When Fleck moved from Western Michigan to Minnesota earlier this year, it was uncertain if his “Row the Boat” mantra, which had been trademarked by WMU, would follow the head coach. As the two sides negotiated an agreement, all signs were pointing to the slogan, which Fleck adopted after his infant son died of a heart condition, shifting from Kalamazoo to Minneapolis.
Wednesday, the shifting has been made official as WMU announced in a press release that “‘Row the Boat,’ the three-word mantra that became the catch phrase for Western Michigan University football success, will become the legal intellectual property of… P.J. Fleck.” The agreement allows Fleck to “legally assume ownership of the phrase and be able to use or transfer it at will.” The university will be permitted to use the slogan, but only for “recognizing and celebrating Fleck’s tenure at WMU and the teams he coached.”
In return for the rights to the mantra, Fleck will make an annual payment of $10,000 over the next five years, with the $50,000 being used to support a scholarship for a WMU football player.
The trademark will technically be transferred to the Harlan Sports, the company of Fleck’s agent Bryan Harlan. It’s expected the trademarked phrase will be used by Fleck’s new employer, with the head coach’s permission.