Wednesday, April 24, 2019

KU announces partnership extension with Adidas through 2031

A University of Kansas-branded Adidas basketball is pictured in March 2018.

A University of Kansas-branded Adidas basketball is pictured in March 2018.


After a wait of roughly 19 months, the signatures on the contract extension between Kansas Athletics and Adidas are now dry.

As a result, KU owns one of the largest apparel deals in college athletics, a 14-year, $196 million agreement that extends to 2031 and keeps alive a partnership first formed in 2005.

KU Chancellor Douglas A. Girod and Athletic Director Jeff Long announced the new deal on Wednesday morning via news release.

The updated agreement, which has been signed and is listed to have kicked in during the 2017-18 academic year, more than doubles the average annual value of KU’s previous deal with Adidas, a six-year extension signed in 2013 that followed the original eight-year contract.

“Chancellor Girod and I, and our staffs, did a very thorough vetting of Adidas and what they were offering us,” Long said. “And after extensive conversations and commitments and meetings, we arrived at the decision that this was the best partnership for Kansas Athletics and the University of Kansas going forward. … We’re excited about this agreement. We believe it’s one that benefits both athletics and academics.”

According to numbers from a recent report from, the new package would put Kansas at the top of the list of most lucrative apparel deals in college athletics.

In 2018, Forbes listed UCLA’s $13 million annual deal with Under Armour as the richest. Louisville and Adidas, at just under $11 million per year, and Texas and Nike, at just under $10 million annually, rounded out the top three.

“I think that speaks to the brand of not only Kansas Athletics but also the University of Kansas, as well,” Long said during a conference call with local media members following the release. “Our goal was not to go into this to get one of the highest (deals), but we did expect that our brand and our success and our university would command among the highest.”

According to Forbes, KU’s previous deal ranked 14th in 2018.

The latest contract with Adidas also includes a commitment of $500,000 annually to a new academic endeavor known as KU Adidas Leadership Scholars, dubbed by the university as “an academic enrichment program designed to enhance participating students’ educational experience at KU.”

Girod said the move “strengthens our university and better enables us to fulfill our mission in education, outreach and research.”

Wednesday’s announcement brought to a close a wait that stretched nearly two years after KU and Adidas agreed to and announced a similar extension of 14 years at $191 million in September of 2017, just before news broke of the FBI’s investigation into corruption in college basketball recruiting.

That investigation, which later brought KU into the fold through a superseding indictment filed in April 2018, left the contract extension between KU and Adidas unsigned until recently.

Associate Athletic Director Jim Marchiony said the difference in the two total values — $191 million in September 2017 and $196 million today — was merely a reflection that the negotiations were not complete at the time the extension was announced in 2017.

“When the indictments came out that fall, it caused us to pause and refocus on the negotiations,” Long said Wednesday while adding that KU moved to finalize the contract after carefully looking at its partnership with the apparel company that has been at the center of the FBI’s investigation.

“There’ve been many, many conversations, discussions, meetings to address those things,” Long said. “We have commitments from Adidas to work with us, to help change the nature of college basketball. … We spent months, months and months discussing (that) and believe we have a strong commitment from Adidas to work with us to make that college recruiting environment better.”

One clause in the contract titled, “Rights of Termination,” spells out that Adidas can terminate the contract if “any Coach or Team is suspended or otherwise subjected to major disciplinary action by the NCAA.”

Adidas also has the right to terminate the contract if “the Football or Basketball coach” or “Kansas Athletics or university” engage in activities that bring negative national exposure or have “a material adverse effect upon the status or reputation of Adidas.”

In that same section, the agreement states that Kansas Athletics can terminate the contract if Adidas “engages in conduct that attracts national publicity which, based on objective evidence, has a material adverse effect upon the status or reputation of Kansas Athletics or University, as determined by University in its reasonable discretion.”

“That cuts both ways,” Long said.

According to the contract, KU will receive $11 million in base compensation in both the 2019-20 academic year and the 2020-21 academic year.

From there, the base compensation figure dips to between $4 million and $5.3 million for the remainder of the contract.

Long said those details were planned prior to the fall of 2017.

“I think there was some anticipation there of needing some additional cash at the beginning of this agreement and then spreading it out across the rest of the agreement,” Long said.

Given that the initial extension was announced on the same day that former KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger unveiled preliminary plans for major renovations of David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium, it’s entirely possible that the “additional cash at the beginning” that Long spoke of Wednesday was earmarked for stadium improvements which have since been put on hold.

However, Long noted that the new agreement also “provides resources to invest in our football program and the future renovation of Memorial Stadium.”

Of the $14 million average annual value, Long said $6.5 million was pegged for product allowance for KU’s 18 varsity sports, with another $1 million going toward product marketing. That $7.5 million total is up from the previous value of just under $3 million for similar services.

Although Long said the goal all along was to complete the deal and stay with Adidas because of KU's longstanding relationship with the company, he added that KU did listen to other pitches from other apparel companies, none of which were named.

“We did check out all of those that were interested in the University of Kansas,” Long said. “Any time you enter into a contract of this nature and this length and this monetary reward attached to it, we did our due diligence, we went through all the options that were available to us, explored everything and arrived at the decision that Adidas was the best option for us.”


Bryce Landon 3 years, 5 months ago

I'll say this for Adidas, they make some sweet jerseys for the Jayhawks, especially the throwback alternates. Case in point:

Sam Meyer 3 years, 5 months ago

hmmm...I'm guessing most commenters on here won't be excited about this.

Bryce Landon 3 years, 5 months ago

I don't care who manufactures KU apparel. I don't care about the corporate logo on the upper corner of the jersey. I only care about the name on the front of the jersey and the KU or Jayhawk logo on the sides of the shorts.

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 5 months ago

Unfortunately Bryce, many recruits do and all the problems along with it.

Suzi Marshall 3 years, 5 months ago

Good for Kansas and Adidas. Both have shown to be loyal partners through some hard times. I hope they don't make Gatto pay Kansas and he gets his job back, with a promotion, along with back pay.

Glen Miller 3 years, 5 months ago

You do understand that his actions are probably going to directly result in some rally bad things for our University, don't you? A promotion.... really, wow.

Suzi Marshall 3 years, 5 months ago

I absolutely do not understand what you are saying. No laws were broken by Adidas. The FBI made up crimes, which is the agency's specialty. The NCAA, which the 9th Circuit determined to be in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act, is the criminal organization.

Glen Miller 3 years, 5 months ago

No laws were broken? Is your head buried in the sand. Guys are in jail right now...... sooooooo yeah, laws were broken.

Mike Hart 3 years, 5 months ago

OK, Suzuki. Gatto doing 9 months in federal prison and admitted guilt at sentencing: "I deeply regret my actions," Gatto said in a shaky voice.“.

Yet, he should renew affiliation with KU and get back pay and a promotion. You are comical

Glen Miller 3 years, 5 months ago

I have no words....... This just goes to show that money is the ONLY factor that came into play. Adidas apparel is lame, our competition is using Adidas against us and we've been drug through the mud by them for the last year or so. Typically, I would avoid those that do me harm. I wonder if they threatened to really spill the beans if we didn't renew.

Freddie Garza 3 years, 5 months ago

Our competition using Adidas against us is only a temporary problem. I'd be willing to bet that some top tier Nike programs are about to be exposed as well, and then they'll have THEIR time in the spotlight with the FBI.

And then ultimately, nothing will change, recruits will still go to the school offering the biggest bag of cash, and we'll be well on our way again.

John Strayer 3 years, 5 months ago

Just don't expect it to be Duke...they are "untouchable."

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 5 months ago

Maybe some top-tier university could use Adidas against us in the recruiting wars but the fallout from all of this is simply nothing has changed other than the means.

Five years out in this cycle of rapid-fire news, no one will even remember.

Jay Scott 3 years, 5 months ago

I wish it were true.....

I wish you really did have no words. None of the ones you post are intelligent.

Glen Miller 3 years, 5 months ago

I'd say they are more intelligent than yours....... so I guess there really is no word for you.

Freddie Garza 3 years, 5 months ago

They'd better be bringing a new and improved bagman game with them. If we're the flagship program for them, then we're gonna need better results on the recruiting trail.

Steven Haag 3 years, 5 months ago

Adidas has given us outfits that put Nike to shame. I agree with Bryce on this one. Some of the jerseys, shorts, and shoes have been absolutely awesome. 1. Don’t think for a minute that our administration doesn’t know about the cloud that comes with Adidas. I’m sure there were some SERIOUS talks behind closed doors. I’m absolutely comfortable with us coming to terms with Adidas 2. Don’t think for a minute that there won’t be an investigation with Nike and/or Under Armour. It will happen. All are crooked. They will try and fly clean for a year or two until this all blows over. Then it will be back to the same ol thing.

Danny Hernandez 3 years, 5 months ago

Nike's school connections will come out, when? Don't know, But they will.

Karen Mansfield-Stewart 3 years, 5 months ago

Say what you will about Adidas, this is a sweet contract for KU athletics. Congrats to those that made it happen and I hope it's spent wisely.

Jay Scott 3 years, 5 months ago

What were the options?

1) Go with Nike? Please. Don't be silly. They're the real source of corruption and filth.

2) Under Armour? Maybe. Did they offer $14M x 14 years? Will they survive 14 years?

3) Walk away from the $$... Only the BM is whacked enough to like that idea.

4) Wait for Mizuno, Asics, Lotto etc to join the fray...See #3...

This was an easy choice. Only the craziest Chicken Littles don't get that.

Suzi Marshall 3 years, 5 months ago

Plus, as I mentioned above, Adidas has stuck with us through a tough time. Loyalty counts alot in any good partnership.

Suzi Marshall 3 years, 5 months ago

You need to get your head on straight. You should be concerned with agencies like the FBI twist the law, conflate issues, bankrupt defendants while using a relatively unlimited budget to bring a case against hard working citizens. What law did Gatto break? Defrauding Kansas University....seriously...? You should be concerned when Federal Agencies show such an excessive abuse of power, which these people all the time. This is not the law, it's not justice.

Mike Hart 3 years, 5 months ago

If Gatto broke no laws then why he is a convicted felon in prison? And why is KU suing your boy Gatto for over $1MM for restitution for the “harms caused by Gatto’s ‘crimes’?? Another snippet for you since you seem to have selective reading and comprehension Skills:

The University of Kansas is seeking more than $1 million in restitution from former Adidas executive Jim Gatto, claiming the school has suffered financial harm as a “victim of Mr. Gatto’s and his co-conspirators crimes” involving payments to basketball recruits.

Read more here:

Jay Scott 3 years, 5 months ago

Which option are you choosing? 1, 2, 3 or 4?

John Strayer 3 years, 5 months ago

Wasn't there supposed to be a large sum up front to kick start the fund raising for stadium rebuild?? This deal, the stadium rebuild and the FBI basketball scandal all seemed to come out at the same time...or at least in a very short span of time.

Mike Riches 3 years, 5 months ago

Does anyone know what Nike pays top-tier programs like Duke or Michigan State? I'm just curious how this contract compares.

For me, the no brainer is for Adidas to have this deal...I don't know how much revenue they receive from Kansas merch every year, but I would imagine 14 million is a great deal for them.

Craig Carson 3 years, 5 months ago

I'm not understanding this deal...Adidas just drug the program through the mud and put us in the cross hairs of the NCAA and we renew the deal for another 10+ years??

Barry Weiss 3 years, 5 months ago

I got no beef with this deal. Like Jay said, who else could we go with? There are escape clauses for both parties if the NCAA drops the hammer on someone.

Noel Graham 3 years, 5 months ago

Skechers came on strong late, we should have signed with them.

Jay Scott 3 years, 5 months ago

Try the Skechers golf shoes if you play. They're amazing.

Here's the reality. Asics, Mizuno and a multitude of others have better products than adidas or Nike.

Lawrence McGlinn 3 years, 5 months ago

Only 15 people expected to be amateurs in the college B-ball $wamp.

Jay Scott 3 years, 5 months ago

HeII doesn't scare Forde. He's seen worse. He went to M'Zoo.

Joe Baker 3 years, 5 months ago

How about Adidas stick to shoes, uniforms, and sponsor their tournaments for all players. Let the recruits make their own decisions. It’s simple: LEAVE THE DAMN RECRUITS ALONE. Leave recruiting to the coaches. If the coaches can’t recruit based on the program alone, then the coach is a terrible recruiter.

David Friend 3 years, 5 months ago

The article states this puts us at the top of the list. That is not true. UCLA;s deal is 15 years 280 million. that is 18.6 million a year. That is still the largest in college.

Jay Scott 3 years, 5 months ago

It's the biggest Adidas deal. When you consider that KU plays fewer sports than almost any P5 school, $14M is huge.

David Howell 3 years, 5 months ago

Why ? Why ?? Why why why ...........

I enjoy supporting the Jayhawk's by wearing branded merchandise. But the ADIDAS apparel and shoes are pure crap (see poop emoji).

This was the perfect chance to teach Adidas a lesson and go with Nike or Under Armour ! But NO, the administration goes for the $$.

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 5 months ago

Easy. Don't wear it. I saw what happened to Zion - wait, that was Nike my bad. Nike recruited Zion, maybe we should go w/Nike.

Better than Under Armour. Bring back Converse! When I looked at the 'poop emoji all it reminded me of is your post.

David Howell 3 years, 5 months ago

Marius I've read lots of your posts. Your comments sway from one side to the other. Better stick to your retirement home shtick ........

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