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Texas A&M renegotiates 12th Man contract with Seattle Seahawks

Texas A&M renegotiates 12th Man contract with Seattle Seahawks

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Ball State vs. Texas A&M

12th Man flags fly over Kyle Field during the Ball State vs. Texas A&M game at  in College Station, Texas on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015.

Texas A&M University announced a renegotiated agreement Thursday over the use of the 12th Man by the Seattle Seahawks, including increased annual fees and provisions that restrict the term's use on social media.

According to the new contract, the NFL franchise will be required to pay an annual royalty of $18,000, a more than three-fold increase over the previous fee.

Texas A&M University Vice President of Brand Development Shane Hinckley said more than the money, the university's focus in renewing the agreement is the protection of a long-standing university symbol.

"Protecting and managing the use of our mark is more important than the money," Hinckley said. "There is a moderate increase in the annual payments, but that's not the driving factor... The spirit of the 12th Man, being ready to serve, is Texas A&M. It's in our DNA and it's who we are. There is no willingness by the university to let that lapse."

The previous contract, which ended July 21, required the Seahawks to pay Texas A&M an annual royalty fee of $5,000.

The Seattle-based team has removed the 12th Man term from its stadium's "Ring of Honor" and it has agreed to discontinue the use of 12th Man in any future social media posts.

Hinckley clarified a tweet that contained the 12th Man phrase posted by the Seahawks on Thursday had prior approval from Texas A&M.

In addition to the increased royalty payment, the new contract also includes an annual $10,000 to be used by Texas A&M for "trademark enforcement efforts."

Outside of those items, Hinckley said the rules of the new agreement largely remain the same, covering "incidental use" of the term.

The Seahawks will be allowed to use the names "12 Seahawk," "12th Seahawk," "12" and "12s" without infringing on the agreement. Officials said the team plans to particularly focus its branding on "12" or "12s."

Texas A&M's history with the 12th Man term stretches back to 1922 when student E. King Gill suited up during a game, ready to go in if the injury-plagued team needed him.

[Read: How E. King Gill started Texas A&M's identity of teamwork and support]

In 1990, Texas A&M was issued the trademark for the 12th Man phrase and in 1996 it was declared incontestable.

The Seahawks first came to an agreement with Texas A&M over usage of the 12th Man in 2006 when the organization agreed to pay a $100,000 one-time payment followed by the annual $5,000 fee. The original deal allowed the team to use the phrase regionally for promotional purposes, not including the sale of merchandise. It was renewed in 2011.

[From the archives: No real winner in the "12th Man" squabble]

The new agreement is set to expire in five years, with an option to renew the deal before the final year begins.

Texas A&M also has a deal with the Buffalo Bills, allowing the team to display the 12th Man phrase on the side of Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, New York. The agreement included a one-time payment of $5,000. The Indianapolis Colts have also run into conflict with Texas A&M over the phrase, and were sued by the university in late 2015. The lawsuit was settled in February, but no settlement details were released.

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