Unless something drastic happens, it looks like the Coach Fleck will soon be able to legally Row The Boat in as Minnesota’s head coach. Per MLive, Western Michigan is in negotiations with Coach Fleck to release the trademarked phrase:
Western Michigan University trustee William Johnston said lawyers representing WMU and Fleck are working on terms to release the phrase to him.
"It's just a matter of negotiating the terms of the release of that intellectual property," Johnston said after a WMU Board of Trustees meeting.
No official announcement or details on the terms have been released, but Bronco football fans should see the phrase as good as gone.
Fleck or the U may pay Western Michigan for the rights, but everyone at WMU has been really classy in public throughout the coaching change so it’s possible that all they’re doing here is getting their legal i’s dotted.
The specific future use of Row The Boat at Minnesota is unclear. Coach Fleck obviously plans on incorporating the phrase somehow as it’s a key part of the culture he wants to implement. Whether that results in the phrase making an appearance on uniforms, clothing items, marketing materials, etc remains to be seen. While I’m not a intellectual property attorney, my understanding is that Fleck would need to work out a deal with the University of Minnesota in order for the U to legally use the phrase on anything (If I’m wrong on that just let me know and I’ll get the strikethrough font ready). Regardless, this is one more minor detail from the hiring process ironing itself out quickly.