From the Desks of Athletics Director Jeff Long and Chancellor Douglas Girod
We are writing to share exciting news about a partnership that will benefit the University of Kansas for years to come.
Today we are pleased to announce the renewal of KU’s sponsorship and apparel agreement with adidas. This 14-year agreement is worth $14 million annually – which is more than double the annual value of our previous contract with adidas – making it one of the largest apparel partnerships in college athletics. Notably, it includes an unprecedented $500,000 annual commitment to educational programming at KU. This is a tremendously beneficial agreement for our university, and it speaks well of KU’s status in the higher education landscape.
Recognizing the size and scope of this agreement, today we want to share with you some context on the partnership and explain why it will benefit KU in meaningful ways.
As we considered KU’s next apparel partner, we had an ambitious vision to secure a partnership that would be unlike past partnerships and unique nationally. Specifically, we sought a partnership that would benefit not just Kansas Athletics but also the university’s broader academic mission and constituents, including students, faculty and staff. This new partnership does exactly that, in part by securing a new $500,000 annual commitment to academic programming through the KU adidas Leadership Scholars, an academic enrichment program designed to enhance participating students’ educational experience at KU.
Beyond the sizeable support for academic programming, there were other important considerations that factored into the decision to renew our partnership with adidas: First, adidas has shown genuine interest in KU’s mission of education, service and research, and the company understands our responsibilities as a leading public research university. Second, adidas is a leader in product innovation, which will benefit our 460 student-athletes as they compete on behalf of KU. Third, we have had a strong relationship with adidas going back to 2005 and have built important connections that will benefit us moving forward.
Certainly, ongoing challenges related to apparel companies and college basketball were central to our decision. Throughout this process, we were unyielding in our commitment to seeking a partner that shares our values. We have had candid and exhaustive conversations with adidas about the problems in college basketball, and throughout these discussions, adidas leaders have reiterated their commitment to strengthening internal processes, pursuing ethical business practices, and being a leader in addressing challenges in collegiate athletics. For these reasons, we are comfortable with – and excited about – extending this partnership.
Additionally, anytime a long-term partnership is up for renewal, KU conducts due diligence in evaluating its options. In this instance, we evaluated all options and consulted with colleagues nationally to determine the best course for KU. Having concluded this process, we are excited to renew this partnership.
In closing, we want to reiterate why a partnership like this is so important to KU. The reality is, an apparel partnership provides undeniable value to KU and is essential for us to remain a strong member of the Big 12 and compete nationally in collegiate athletics. A successful athletics department is inextricably linked to KU’s broader academic mission and is crucial to student recruitment, alumni relations, and the university’s overall profile. Without question, this new agreement benefits KU in all these areas.
Thank you for your support of our university, Kansas Athletics, and our students.
Douglas A. Girod
Director of Athletics