Despite Adidas Controversy, Kansas Re-Ups for $196M

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The University of Kansas is sticking with Adidas, despite the shoe-and-apparel manufacturer's recent history of bribing recruits to attend institutions under contract with the company.

As reported by the Kansas City Star, the 14-year renewal, which includes the last two years and runs through the 2030-31 school year, is worth $14 million annually and about $196 million total. KU first partnered with Adidas in 2005, signing an eight-year agreement. The partnership was renewed in 2013 with a six-year extension.

Compared to the six-year extension, Adidas will pay the KU athletic department an average of $3.86 million more per year in base compensation ($1.68 million versus $5.54 million per year), $4.12 million more per year in product allowance ($2.38 million versus $6.5 million), and about $800,000 more per year for marketing.

Former Adidas employee T.J. Gassnola testified in federal court last October that he made concealed payments on behalf of the company to the families of KU basketball players Billy Preston and Silvio De Sousa. Sousa was given a two-year suspension, which KU appealed this week, and the athletic department is expecting to face an upcoming NCAA investigation to determine whether the program committed NCAA rules violations, the Star reported.

"Both we and Adidas have done our due diligence and thoroughly evaluated all factors related to this partnership, including the current environment related to college basketball," KU chancellor Douglas Girod said. "We are confident about this renewed partnership and look forward to continuing our relationship with Adidas."

KU athletic director Jeff Long, who had put the 2017 Adidas-contract-extension plans of his predecessor on hold after an FBI investigation into college basketball corruption revealed the bribery scam, added that he no longer questions the partnership's integrity. "I hope those who have those questions in their mind know that Chancellor Girod and I and our staffs did a very thorough vetting of Adidas and what they were offering us,” he said. “After extensive conversations and commitments and meetings, we arrived at the decision this was the best partnership for Kansas Athletics and the University of Kansas going forward. We're excited about this agreement. We believe it's one that benefits both athletics and academics."

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