Adidas Deal a Boon for Pitino, Not Student-Athletes

Andy Berg Headshot

Louisville head basketball Rick Pitino was the main benefactor of a large contract between Louisville and athletic apparel company Adidas. 

According to the Courier-Journal, 98 percent of the cash generated from the school's current deal with Louisville, which is set to expire on July 1, 2018, was being funneled directly to Pitino.

Last year $1.5 million went to Pitino under his “personal services agreement” with the company. Meanwhile, the Louisville athletics department got just $25,000, according to a contract obtained by the Courier-Journal via Kentucky’s open records act.

The contract between Louisville and Adidas mandated that any money paid to University of Louisville coaches is deducted from funds that would have otherwise went to the athletics program.

That’s in stark contrast to comments made by now-suspended Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich, who said on Aug. 25, when a new deal with Adidas was announced, that the money was for student-athletes.

Kenny Klein, the Louisville athletic department's spokesman, told the Courier-Journal that giving the money to Pitino indirectly benefited Louisville’s student-athletes.

“Players come here in part because of Coach Pitino,” Klein said. “Coaching is part of what we give to student-athletes.”

There’s been no word on what will happen with the new Adidas contract in light of bribery charges brought by the FBI involving Pitino and Jurich. The new deal is reportedly worth $160 million over 10 years. That deal would see the Louisville program take in $79 million in cash over 10 years, as well as shoes and apparel. 

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