Those smoke-colored football uniforms the University of Miami unveiled before this past season?
Consider them collectors’ items or trash-heap material, depending on your perspective.
Multiple sources told the Miami Herald on Sunday and Monday that the Hurricanes will switch apparel and merchandise providers from Nike to Adidas.
UM athletic director Blake James told the Herald on Monday that UM has “not signed a contract with anyone,” but that “we will announce our apparel partner going forward on Thursday.
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“Until that time I will have no comment.”
The Nike contract expires in August, James said last month. UM spring sports such as baseball and track and field will still wear Nike products.
James told the Herald in mid-December that “Nike extended an opportunity for us to renew for another 10 years. However, I decided it was in our best interest to test the market and determine our value moving forward.”
Adidas has already been canvassing UM’s coaches at the Coral Gables campus to find out what type of shoes and apparel are needed to suit each sport’s athletes.
“Significant’’ was the word one source associated with UM’s teams used to describe the financial boost that the school will receive with Adidas compared to Nike, which has been contracted with the Hurricanes since 1987.
Two sources said some teams will have two to three times more lucrative budgets to use for shoes and apparel.
Last month, Arizona State switched from Nike to Adidas, signing an eight-year contract worth $33.8 million or $4,225,000 annually, according to the Arizona Republic.
One source told the Herald the new UM contract will be in the 10-year range.
UM is a private university and is not required to release its financial dealings.
Louisville and North Carolina State are the current Atlantic Coast Conference schools contracted with Adidas, with Boston College and Maryland affiliated with Under Armour, Georgia Tech with Russell and the other eight schools, not including UM, with Nike.
Sources said that most UM coaches are fine with the expected switch, but it could impact the men’s basketball program because UM has been recruiting players who have ties to the Nike AAU program.
UM coach Jim Larranaga was asked Monday on the ACC coaches’ teleconference how much of a factor a team’s uniform/shoe brand has on recruiting.
Larranaga noted that some young players “feel very, very closely associated with a certain shoe company because that’s the shoe they’ve been wearing throughout their high school and AAU seasons. So, it does become a factor in recruiting.
“But I think the major factor in recruiting is [to] be sure a young man knows the quality of your program. If you have a quality product, then you’ll be able to recruit quality student-athletes.”
Louisville coach Rick Pitino said after Larranaga that “obviously if you’re associated with Nike you have somewhat of an advantage, because Nike people really make a heavy emphasis on their players going to Nike schools.”
When asked if his team wearing Adidas products had a negative impact on recruiting, Pitino said he doesn’t think “it’s the players as much as the AAU handlers, runners agents – they’re all involved in it somehow and it’s a problem that won’t go away… The NCAA doesn’t think it’s a problem, so I’m not going to think it’s a problem.”
Adidas at a glance
▪ Founded: 1924, Herzogenaurach, Germany.
▪ Notable endorsers (past and present): David Beckham, Mario Chalmers, Dwight Howard, Tim Duncan, John Wall, Derrick Rose, Andrew Wiggins, Joakim Noah, Brandon Knight, Jesse Owens, Anna Kournikova, Steffi Graf, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jerry West, Bill Walton, Pete Maravich.
▪ Name origin: From founder Adolf Dassler. “Adi” was his nickname. “Das” is from Dassler.
▪ 2013 revenue: $14.49 billion.