Despite facing a likely NCAA investigation due to previous recruiting practices by an Adidas employee, the University of Kansas opted to extend its apparel contract with the shoe giant on Wednesday.
Signing a lucrative 14-year extension worth $196 million total, the Jayhawks will stay in Adidas gear for the foreseeable future — despite the company damaging the program’s reputation during the first college basketball corruption trial.
Former Adidas runner and AAU coach T.J. Gassnola testified in federal court last October that he made payments on behalf of the company to Kansas basketball players Billy Preston and Silvio De Sousa. Preston never ended up playing for the Jayhawks while De Sousa was suspended two seasons by the NCAA — something Kansas appealed and hopes to shorten after he already missed the 2018-19 season. Kansas will likely hear from the NCAA about an investigation shortly as the trial created national headlines.
But even after Adidas put the school in an uncomfortable light, the company gave Kansas a sweet deal that is tough for them to pass up. Worth $14 million annually, the deal will be one of the largest by an apparel company in college sports as Kansas and Adidas have already been partners since 2005.
The extension will pay the Kansas athletics department an average of $3.86 million more per year in base compensation and an astounding $4.12 million more per year in product allowance. The new extension also allows for Kansas to get a significant amount of early money in the deal as the school will receive $11 million annually in base compensation from Adidas in each of the next two years before the number drops back down to around $4 million.
While Adidas certainly hurt the Kansas brand (and maybe even recruiting for the 2019 class) the company clearly felt it needed to make a grand gesture in order to keep the Jayhawks apart of the brand. As one of the flagship Adidas programs for the past 14 years, the Jayhawks have gone on a record-breaking Big 12 regular-season title streak while also winning a national championship.
It’s controversial for Kansas to continue its business ties with a company that hurt them, but the significant boost in annual compensation — coupled with significant money the next two years — was clearly too good for the school to pass up.