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Northwest Bearcats

Athletic Licensing


Introduction | Athletic Brands | FAQs


The Northwest Missouri State Athletic Licensing Program was implemented to protect the Athletic Department's ownership interest in its athletic logos and to generate royalty fees to support the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. One of the most important functions of the Athletic Licensing Office is to protect Northwest Missouri State University Athletics in the legal interests in their registered trademarks. It is necessary to do so because the law requires that the department actively safeguard registered trademarks from improper use in order to protect its legal ownership interest in them.

Any individual or company seeking to market and/or manufacture products bearing the name, symbols, insignias, designs, or logos and other identifying marks of Northwest Missouri State University Athletics must obtain a license from the University Athletic Department to use such marks. These logos and word marks are protected as trademarks of the University Athletic Department. Northwest Athletics is represented in these licensing matters through an exclusive agency agreement with Strategic Marketing Affiliates, Inc. of Indianapolis, IN (SMA). The contact person at SMA is Jared Harding (317-669-0806 or 

Use of Northwest Athletic's marks without license or permission is strictly prohibited. Northwest Athletics will take whatever measures necessary to protect its trademarks from infringement.


No merchandise or use of the Northwest Missouri State University Athletic logos and trademarks will be approved when used in conjunction with or making reference to:

  • Drugs or drug paraphernalia
  • Alcohol, alcohol consumption and/or abuse
  • Tobacco products and usage
  • Sexual conduct, imagery, or inferences
  • Profanity or inappropriate insensitive language
  • Gambling
  • Firearms and weapons
  • Any other merchandise or use of Northwest Missouri State University Athletic logos and trademarks judged by the Athletic Licensing Program to be inappropriate, unacceptable, or inconsistent with standard licensing practices of Northwest Missouri State University.

Athletic Brands

The Bearcat Paw and Family of Athletic Images

The Bearcat paw is a registered trademark image and is the primary mark of Northwest Athletics, however a complement of secondary marks provides flexibility and creates a strong family of images.  This family includes options for Bobby Bearcat, multiple word marks and a custom font that is unique and exclusive to Northwest Athletics. 

View the Athletics Graphics Standards Guide »

University Name

The name of the University is "Northwest Missouri State University," and the accepted shortened form is "Northwest" or "Northwest Missouri State." No use of NWMSU or NW is allowed on any printed item, in any reference, through any electronic device or in any University correspondence.


Miscellaneous Uses of University Logo or Name

Print Advertisements

All advertisements placed in print media must contain the University logo used in the same way as it would be used on a publication. All print ads must be coordinated through the marketing specialist.

Radio Ads/Interviews on Radio and TV

Care must be taken when dealing with the electronic media to refer to Northwest as "Northwest Missouri State University," "Northwest Missouri State," "Northwest" or the University. Never NWMSU or NW.

Exhibits and Displays

Exhibits and displays representing the University should prominently display the University logo or name. One additional note to departments that set up displays for recruitment or other purposes: PLEASE use the latest versions of all publications. Old, outdated publications should never be used because they contain inaccurate information and do not convey a consistent graphic image of the university.

Souvenirs and Novelty Items

Such items, if ordered with University funds, may not contain the initials NWMSU or NW. The N logo may be used on items of this type, following guidelines previously outlined, but it is not always required due to the nature of such imprinting. The Paw logo can only be used with permission from the Northwest Athletic Department. Contact University Relations for design assistance of artwork.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a trademark?

A trademark is a symbol or word used by a manufacturer or organization to identify its goods or services and distinguish them from its competitors. In practice, a trademark does more than that. It conveys to consumers the desirability of the product bearing the mark, and it helps to promote the goods it is identified with. Once this is accomplished, the trademark owner has attained something of value.

What qualifies as a trademark, logo and/or symbol of Northwest Athletics?

A trademark is any logo, word, letter or symbol associated with Northwest Missouri State University Athletics that can be distinguished from those of other universities, teams or organizations (ex. Bearcat paw, Bobby Bearcat). There can be no alterations/manipulations to athletic logos.

Who must be licensed?

Any individual, organization or company wishing to use the name or identifying marks of Northwest Missouri State University Athletics must obtain a license. This includes manufacturers or service providers who use the Athletic Department's name or logo on products (including premiums for promotions) or in advertising. SMA is Northwest's authorized agent for trademark licensing purposes. SMA is authorized to license manufacturers meeting Northwest's qualifications.

Is it true that student/campus organizations/clubs must utilize an officially licensed manufacturer of products which are specifically produced on their behalf?

Yes. These manufacturers are then obligated to submit the design to the Athletic Licensing Office for approval pursuant to the terms of their licensing agreement with the Athletic Department. 

What is the process for registered student/campus organizations/clubs to gain permission to utilize the Athletic Department's logo for t-shirts and related products?

The organization(s) must contact SMA for a list of licensed vendors and submit the design prior to placing orders. The athletic licensing office has the right of refusal.

Do academic departments and university offices need permission to utilize the Athletic Department's trademarks?

The University would prefer academic departments and offices to not use the athletic logos. They would instead suggest using the Northwest


By following the guidelines set forth by our licensing company, SMA, you are helping to ensure that our brand is represented in a positive, consistent manner. We appreciate your interest and your support.

For more information, to request permission to use the image or to report unlicensed goods, contact SMA at (317) 669-0806.