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Volume 25 No. 134
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Washington's Adidas Deal Approved Amid Concerns About CBB Probe

Adidas’ offer was reportedly worth almost $20M more than Nike’s best offer to UW

The Univ. of Washington Board of Regents "formally approved" the school’s new apparel deal with Adidas, but "not before several regents raised concerns about Adidas’ link to the federal investigation" hanging over college basketball, according to Adam Jude of the SEATTLE TIMES. UW AD Jennifer Cohen said that she "has had 'a lot of conversations with Adidas' about the FBI investigation and felt strongly" that former Adidas exec James Gatto’s actions "were that of a rogue agent." Cohen pointed out a clause in the Adidas deal that allows UW "to 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 the school. Cohen "largely drew praise from regents over the deal, and from UW President Ana Mari Cauce" (SEATTLE TIMES, 4/13). In Portland, Jeff Manning notes the UW deal is the "first big university sponsorship for Adidas since it was sucked into the basketball criminal case" in September. Cohen said, "After spending a lot of time on the issue, we felt comfortable that they're tackling this issue head-on" (Portland OREGONIAN, 4/13). Cohen said that Adidas' presentation during negotiations was "'compelling' because of how prepared the company was when UW's administration went to company offices in Portland for a meeting." She also said that Adidas' reps "made it less about the company and placed the focus more on UW" (Tacoma NEWS TRIBUNE, 4/13).

COMING IN $20M AHEAD OF NIKE: The SEATTLE TIMES' Jude notes the "total value of the agreement is more" than $120M, making it "one of the top-10 richest apparel deals in college athletics." Cohen told the regents that, in "cash alone, Adidas’ offer was worth" almost $20M more than Nike’s "best offer to UW." A source said that Nike "was not willing to offer the Huskies more" than the 11-year, $88M extension it gave Oregon in '17. UW will also receive a $3M signing bonus from Adidas, to be "paid when the contract term begins on July 1, 2019." With guaranteed royalties and potential bonuses, UW "could receive more" than $125M by the "end of the term" (SEATTLE TIMES, 4/13).