The Oregon men’s club rugby team reached a new sponsorship deal in January that will give them financial flexibility through the end of the calendar year and possibly beyond.

The deal was reached with Source Intelligence, a Carlsbad, California-based sustainability company that analyzes the supply chains of companies to determine if their products are produced ethically, morally and legally. With the sponsorship, the team received $5,000 for the winter/spring fifteens season and will receive an additional $5,000 for the upcoming fall sevens season.

This money will allow the team to do a number of things, such as ordering some much-needed gear. This includes tear-away warmup pants, duffle bags, backpacks, practice jerseys and shorts. As a club sport, the men’s rugby team receives some financial help from the university, but not enough to fund everything. In past years, paying for things like new gear had to come from fundraised money as well as individual dues. Before the sponsorship deal was put into place this year, the team struggled to collect enough dues to place an order for gear.

“It’s frustrating for a lot of players because they’ll play all season and they won’t get their gear until the end of the year,” team president Connor Crossley said. “I know when I came in, I wanted gear right away, but the way the cycle went, it was hard to do. This (sponsorship) will free us up for new gear.”

The foundation was laid out last fall when Crossley, vice president Jess Kraus and treasurer Vinoth Papan put together sponsorship proposals to send out to businesses. Kraus sent one of these to his uncle and his namesake, Jess F. Kraus IV, the CEO and co-founder of Source Intelligence.

Kraus IV wanted to learn more about the University of Oregon, so he did some research and was pleasantly surprised to learn that the school’s sustainable design major was ranked number one in the nation, according to DesignIntelligence.

“That really resonated with me,” Kraus IV said in a phone interview. “They also offer a rigorous major in the area of sustainability. My company is all about that.”

Crossley, Kraus and head coach Pate Tuisue conferenced with Kraus IV over the phone in January to figure out the terms of the sponsorship deal. The proposals sent out in the fall listed three tiers of sponsorship to choose from: bronze, silver and gold/platinum. Kraus IV chose the gold/platinum tier. While the team will receive $10,000 this year, Source Intelligence gets an exclusive sponsorship with the team, and the company logo will be appearing on the team’s new gear.

“Our warmup gear and team gear is going to have Source Intelligence on them,” Kraus said. “We also have a Source Intelligence banner that we’re going to put up on our home field for games, and we’re going to bring a canopy with their name on it to away games.”

The money from Source Intelligence has already helped in ordering new team gear, but that is just one of several positive impacts that this sponsorship will provide.

“This is going to help us grow as a club skill-wise,” Kraus said. “The more money we have to travel to places to play better teams, the better we can become ourselves. This is just the beginning.”

 Follow Will Denner on Twitter @Will_Denner

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