I’m bored so I’ve decided to write about this, and while at first glance this may seem extremely insignificant. But allegations came out this past April that Adidas was having apparel and equipment made in sweatshops in Indonesia. One of the major reasons that Michigan cut ties with Nike was the fact that they were not high on the priority list and because they used sweatshops to make their products. Now with the allegations being investigated further, Cornell has severed their ties with Adidas, and apparently the University of Wisconsin is considering the same thing. Wisconsin severed their ties with Nike in 2010 because of the sweatshop issue.
Adidas paid Michigan a $6.5 million signing bonus in 2007 and the apparel deal is worth $7.5 annually in cash and merchandise and lasts until 2016-17. There is a five-year option to extend the contract after the 2016-17 season if the school wants. The only reason I bring this up is what will Michigan do? There were already protests by students in April regarding the contract and the sweatshops and now that Cornell has made a bold move and cut ties, could there be more? It should be noted that it is in Michigan’s contract with Adidas that the company must pay their workers.
Obviously if Michigan decided to sever the ties with Adidas they would not go back to Nike. With the NFL contract now, Nike would not even come close to offering the type of deal that Adidas could offer Michigan, and I absolutely hate about 70% of the pro combat uniforms that they are making. Not to mention the fact that Michigan likes being a big fish for Adidas, so the company pays more attention to them, caters to them more and most importantly gives them a more lucrative contract. I personally like Nike apparel more than Adidas, but I understand why Michigan is with Adidas.
(This jersey does not represent their team colors, what are you doing Nike?)
While I don’t think that Michigan would ever sever ties with Adidas, it’s interesting to think about which company they could go to. Reebok? Under Armour? Neither are great choices. Whoever it is will also have to be non-sweatshop certified companies. I was a big fan of Under Armour until they started making uniforms for Maryland, which are bar none the worst designed uniforms I’ve ever seen. A lot is going to depend on how much truth there is to these allegations. It seems like they are pretty real if Cornell is cutting ties and Wisconsin is considering it. Michigan could wait until the contract is up to make a decision, but it will depend on how the Liberals react to all of this if the story ever gains significant ground.