U of M: Don't Do It

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Michigan just did it.

Athletic director Bill Martin said Tuesday night the school signed an eight-year contract with Adidas, ending a relationship with Nike.

Adidas gave Michigan a $6.5 million signing bonus in a deal worth $3.8 million in cash annually, with the school holding a five-year option when it expires following the 2016-17 season. The contract also includes shoes and equipment for all of its 25 teams, including the nation's winningest football program, making the deal worth $7.5 million each year in cash and merchandise.

"We have a lot of respect for both Adidas and Nike, and we're looking forward to a great relationship with Adidas," Martin said in an interview with The Associated Press. "We're going to be involved with a company with great products and a wonderful reputation."

Michigan will make $1.2 million during the following athletic season in the final year of its relationship with Nike, whose iconic swoosh logo couldn't be missed on jersey and shoes the Wolverines wore for years.

Notre Dame, UCLA, Tennessee, Indiana and Wisconsin are among the schools that have marketing agreements with Adidas.

Adidas-produced Michigan gear will arrive in stores next summer, while Wolverines athletes will begin wearing the new products beginning in fall of 2008.

Jason Winters, chief financial officer for Michigan athletics, said in a statement that funding from the new agreement will provide added resources to the university's long-term building improvement plan.

The university said the contract also includes provisions to protect labor and human rights at factories. Nike has drawn criticisms over conditions at its overseas factories, and student groups at Michigan have long criticized the school for its relationship with the company.

Michigan first entered into a contract with Nike in 1994. Its most recent contract, signed in 2001, had a value estimated at up to $28 million.

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