What's Next for UCF?
How do you raise the profile of a basketball program that last year finished in 6th place in Conference USA? How about a sponsor controversy involving the two biggest apparel brands and basketball's most recognized surname.
In an exhibition game on Wednesday, Marcus Jordan, son of Michael, took the court in Nike Air Jordans, while the rest of his teammates wore contractually-bound Adidas sneaks.
Adidas made it clear following the game that they've had enough and would not renew their six-year, $3 million sponsorship when the contract expires.
"The University of Central Florida has chosen not to deliver on their contractual commitment to adidas," adidas spokeswoman Andrea Corso said in a statement. "As a result, we have chosen not to continue our relationship with them moving forward."
While his father pioneered the modern idea of sports endorsement, Marcus is getting an early education on the complex nature of sports sponsorship and endorsements.
Marcus says the school promised when recruiting him that he would be able to wear Nikes.
In the past few weeks, rumors had circulated that Adidas may be willing to grant an exemption.
"As I said before, we spoke with adidas officials throughout this process and were continuing contract negotiations with them," UCF Athletic Director Keith Tribble told reporters on Wednesday. "I have not seen anything in writing or heard directly from adidas about a change in our relationship."
The fact that it got this far - to the point where Marcus walked on court and Adidas dropped the sponsorship - is pretty amazing. My thinking is that another deal has to be in the works with Nike, UA or someone else. It would be hard for a middle of the pack program to eat that paycheck over one player - even if his last name is Jordan. What do you think?