Published Friday, March 15, 2013 at 9:48 pm / Updated at 9:49 pm
NEbraska Athletics
Nebraska extends deal with Adidas

LINCOLN — Adidas in a landslide — even if it's not a windfall.

The University of Nebraska Board of Regents Friday voted 7-0 to extend the Husker athletic department's relationship with athletic apparel outfitter Adidas. The new deal — five years, $15.53 million, with $8.03 million in cash and $7.5 million in apparel and equipment — isn't worth much more than NU's previous eight-year, $22.7 million deal that was set to expire this summer.

“It's not a significant increase over the deal we had before, so in that sense, I'm disappointed,” UNL Chancellor Harvey Perlman said. “But I'm also led to believe that these agreements aren't as rich as they have been across the country.”

Like Michigan's eight-year, $66.5 million deal, signed with Adidas in 2007. Or Notre Dame's 10-year, $60 million deal, signed with Adidas in 2005. Those remain the high-water marks.

More recently, Alabama signed an eight-year, $30 million Nike contract in 2010. And Oregon — essentially Nike's flagship guinea pig school — signed its eight-year, $22.7 million agreement. That's the same deal NU got from Adidas in 2005, and it's less per year ($2.84 million) than Nebraska will get from Adidas ($3.106 million) in the new contract.

And the Huskers' Adidas deal, Perlman said, is more than any other apparel outfitter was willing to offer. After the two sides failed to come to terms in a “right of first dealing” window with Adidas, former Nebraska Athletic Director Tom Osborne looked at other deals. In a phone interview, current Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst — who co-sponsored the extension proposal but did not negotiate it — said he believed Osborne talked to Nike.

No other apparel deals, Perlman said, measured up.

“It's a mix of price, how much they're going to give you and quality of the merchandise,” Perlman said. “And if you put everything together, we didn't come close.”

Regent Bob Phares, chairman of the business affairs committee that examined the contract, said the Adidas deal was “the best thing that was available.”

“We wanted to know if they had really researched and vetted the thing before they brought it to us, and it was obvious they had,” Phares said. “We were comfortable.”

Adidas' deal offers perks. The outfitter provides performance bonuses if teams win conference or national titles — $100,000 for a Big Ten football title, for example — and a second bonus if a coach wins a coach of the year award. Adidas gives practice balls to the football, basketball and volleyball teams. It offers $20,000 for apparel that enhances the “student game-day experience,” such as T-shirts for students at basketball games.

And since 2005, Adidas has had an on-site representative — former Husker assistant equipment manager Al Recker — who helps expedite requests from players. Eichorst said Adidas had an on-campus representative while he was a deputy athletic director at Wisconsin.

“Good partner,” Eichorst said. “Great customer service. They get it. They get the big picture.”

Other than saying Nike did not have a on-campus representative while he was athletic director at Miami, Eichorst declined to discuss differences between Adidas and Nike.

“Both are great companies,” he said from Chicago, where he attended Nebraska's second-round basketball game at the Big Ten tournament.

Husker wide receiver Kenny Bell said Adidas' on-campus rep is helpful for special requests or quickly replacing equipment. An example: Bell said he struggles with turf toe, so he requested titanium plates be placed in the toes of his cleats. He got them within days, he said.

“There's a difference between guys who care what it looks like and guys who care if it works,” Bell said. “Does Nike have some cool designs? Absolutely. You can't lie. But I love what Adidas does. And I care more if it works and feels good.”

Like the previous contract, Adidas will have the negotiating rights to renew the agreement starting 90 days before the fifth contract year. If the sides can't reach an agreement in those three months, Adidas still has the right to match or better any competitors.

Nebraska has several existing agreements with other equipment companies in three sports. The three mentioned in the agreement: Bowling (Columbia300 balls and bags, expiring June 30, 2015); baseball (Rawlings bats, gloves, helmets and bags, expiring Aug. 14, 2013); and softball (Mizuno bats, gloves, helmets and bags, expiring Aug. 31, 2015).

Contact the writer:

402-219-3790, sam.mckewon@owh.com, twitter.com/swmckewonOWH

Contact the writer: Sam McKewon

sam.mckewon@owh.com    |   402-219-3790    |  

Sam McKewon covers Nebraska football for The World-Herald. Got a tip, question or rant? Good. Email him. Follow him on Twitter. Call him.

PHOTO GALLERY AND VIDEO »

 

< >
SPOTLIGHT »
2013 college football preview
View our 2013 college football preview, a 26-page, three-part section filled with coverage of the Huskers, Big Ten conference and more.
Big Red Bowl Retrospective
See complete historical results, game recaps and photo coverage from the Nebraska Cornhuskers college football bowl game appearances, from the 1941 Rose Bowl up to today.
Big Ten football recruits
The World-Herald's Big Ten recruiting database contains every football recruit that signed with a Big Ten school from 2002 to 2011, complete with color-coded interactive map representations, player information, high-concentrations recruiting clusters and more.
Devaney Center timeline
Check out a World-Herald timeline to see the evolution of memorable moments at the Devaney Center, complete with photos, videos, memorable quotes and more.
Follow OWHbigred on Twitter
Looking for the latest Husker sports news from The Omaha World-Herald and Omaha.com? Follow us on Twitter!
Husker scholarship distribution chart
Want to see how many scholarships NU has invested at each position? Wondering how the Huskers have appropriated their offers by class? Check out our handy chart to look further into how Bo Pelini has built his team.
Husker Signing Day 2013
The World-Herald's top-notch coverage of the Nebraska football's class of 2013, complete with videos, photos, articles, live recruit interviews, interactive components and more.
Husker turnovers: A slippery slope
Bo Pelini has coached 68 games at Nebraska. When NUís turnover margin is positive or even, the Huskers are 35-2. When they lose the turnover battle, theyíre 13-18. Why hasnít Nebraska joined the nationís elite? More than anything, itís turnovers.
Interactive: Bo Pelini's contract
View an interactive PDF of Pelini's revised contract signed by the NU football coach, complete with brief summaries of the legalese and insight into the document's finer points.
Interactive: Darin Erstad's contract (2012)
View an interactive PDF of NU baseball coach Darin Erstad's contract released in August 2012, complete with brief summaries of the legalese and insight into the document's finer points.
Interactive: Tim Miles' contract
View an interactive PDF of Tim Miles' contract signed by the Nebraska men's basketball coach on May 4, 2012, complete with brief legal explanations, comparisons to other Big Ten coaches and more.
Omaha.com's Big Ten coverage
Delivering the best news coverage and analysis of the Big Ten Conference, from Omaha.com and other top news outlets from around country.
Husker Recruiting: Changes shrink NU's sphere of influence
For decades, the Great Plains represented fertile recruiting ground for Tom Osborne's football program. Restoring that lost tradition won't be easy.
Deadline Deal thumbnail
7M Grill
Half Off Delicious Comfort Fusion Food & Drinks!
Buy Now
BRT ON TWITTER »
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT »
< >