Knights join Gators, Seminoles, and Hurricanes as state’s Nike universities
ORLANDO, FL — It took a highly publicized controversy to rid UCF of its longstanding shoe and apparel contract with adidas, but as of today, that’s all in the history books.
July 1st marks the start of the school’s contract with its new suitor, Nike.
In an unexpected turn of events publicized nationally last fall as “shoegate,” UCF lost its shoe and apparel contract with adidas four years after signing a five-year extension with the company. UCF basketball player Marcus Jordan wore a pair of white Nike Air Jordans to an exhibition game against St. Leo University. Although the Knights won the game 84-65, the fallout following the match made national headlines.
According to sources close to the situation, local adidas representatives had originally agreed to make an exception for Jordan to wear his Nike shoes, which he says hold special family meaning. This allowed UCF to recruit Jordan, who had specifically asked about his preference to wear the line of shoes his father, basketball great Michael Jordan, had made famous.
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However, that decision changed very quickly once upper management at the company found out about the move.
“The University of Central Florida has chosen not to deliver on their contractual commitment to adidas,” adidas spokeswoman Andrea Corso wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press. “As a result we have chosen not to continue our relationship with them moving forward.”
UCF was left scrambling for a replacement to sponsor the university’s sports teams once the contract ended with adidas. In March, UCF Director of Athletics Keith Tribble announced a five-year deal with Nike beginning July 1, 2010 to outfit all of UCF’s sports teams.
“We are very excited about our new partnership with Nike,” Tribble said in a press release. “Most importantly, our student-athletes will be thrilled to wear the Nike brand. We look forward to a long relationship with Nike.”
“Nike is excited to become the official supplier of athletic footwear, apparel and equipment for the Knights, and we especially look forward to outfitting all of UCF’s student-athletes and coaches from its 16 sports programs,” said Nike Director of Sports Marketing Kit Morris in the press release from UCF Athletics.
Beginning this fall, the UCF football team will don brand new Nike uniforms. Although the school received its shipment of black, gold, and white uniforms in May, the school has yet to make any official announcement unveiling their design.
Keep checking KnightNews.com for updates.