KU's shoe deal with Adidas is company's largest total dollar deal; KU ranks fourth in nation
With Adidas being dragged into the FBI investigation into college basketball recruiting practices from the outset and reports of a subpoena connected to Nike’s Elite Youth Basketball League surfacing following further investigation on Wednesday, it seems as if the biggest players in the shoe game that have run AAU basketball during recent years have found themselves smack dab in the middle of what many believe could be the biggest scandal in college sports history.
Add to that the fact that Under Armour, the third face on the Mt. Rushmore of modern shoe and apparel companies, is involved, at least in name, through its connection to Auburn — one of six schools named in the initial findings — and you’re looking at an investigation that, in one way or another, could potentially impact nearly every Power 5 school in the country and many mid-major programs, as well.
At the very least, it seems like major changes are ahead for college basketball, the shoe companies that help fund it and recruiting in general.
With that in mind, here’s a quick glance at the shoe affiliations in the Big 12 Conference, where Kansas is king, both on the court — as shown by its 13 consecutive Big 12 regular season titles — and in the apparel game, with its recently agreed upon contract extension with Adidas for 14 years and $191 million representing the fourth largest shoe and apparel deal in the NCAA, according to ESPN Business Reporter Darren Rovell.
While employees at both Adidas and Nike have been directly linked to the ongoing investigation, it’s worth noting that Rovell also reported on Wednesday that sources close to the FBI’s NCAA bribery scandal told him that no Under Armour executives had been subpoenaed.
To this point, Nike’s EYBL has not been named in the case, but a former employee who ran it, Merl Code, is one of the defendants. Code left Nike for Adidas roughly three years ago and, as outlined in the FBI’s findings, is alleged to have assisted James Gatto, Adidas’ global marketing director, in paying players for their loyalty to Adidas.
In addition, KU officials have said that Gatto had nothing to do with the negotiations of KU's recent extension with Adidas and that the university has not received any inquiries from federal investigators.
While we’re taking a look at which schools sit where, it seems like as good a time as any to remind you of the affiliations within the Big 12 Conference, where all but two of the conference’s 10 members are in partnerships with Nike.
Baylor — Nike; $3.5 million annually (years of contract not available)
Iowa State — Nike; $1.47 million annually through 2024
Kansas — Adidas; $13.64 million annually through 2031
Kansas State — Nike; $1.9 million annually through 2021
Oklahoma — Nike; $3.39 million annually through 2018
Oklahoma State — Nike; $4.37 million annually through 2025
TCU — Nike; $2.9 million annually (years of contract not available)
Texas — Nike; $16.67 million annually through 2031
Texas Tech — Under Armour; $2.55 million annually through 2020
West Virginia — Nike; $4.35 million annually through 2026
• Source for contract information: July 12, 2016 article on Forbes.com