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HomeSportWhy Texas A&M’s New Deal With Adidas ‘Rubs Students the Wrong Way’

Why Texas A&M’s New Deal With Adidas ‘Rubs Students the Wrong Way’

by News7

Seventeen years after inking their initial deal, the Texas A&M Aggies will stick with stripes over checks.

As first reported by The Eagle, the Aggies are now beginning a new five-year contract reportedly worth $47 million to keep Adidas as the main uniform sponsor and apparel provider, continuing a long-standing partnership dating back to 2007.

When Texas A&M takes Kyle Field for night football games — new intro and all in what will be its first season without Jimbo Fisher since 2018 — or packs Reed Arena when basketball season comes around, they’ll have Adidas patches on their uniforms. It’s not necessarily the norm, as many schools across the country have deals with sportswear giant Nike, but it’s the way the Aggies prefer it.

At least, that’s what Ross Bjork expressed before he made his switch to Ohio State to become its new director of athletics, speaking on his involvement in making the deal happen.

“When we went through the negotiation, it was clear that Adidas was the best option,” he said. “Financially: equipment, apparel, all the components that they do from a marketing standpoint.

“They’ve just become a good partner here at A&M.”

Ross Bjork, now the director of athletics at Ohio State, played a large role in negotiations with Adidas on behalf of Texas A&M, paving the way for a new five-year, $47 million deal to come to fruition. / Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA

Before the terms of the deal were announced, Texas A&M was operating under a term sheet with Adidas, meaning that it was unofficially continuing its partnership with the intention of ironing out details and contract length. Now, those details are final, and the Aggies will be an Adidas school for at least the next five years.

But while that might sound like a great arrangement for the program, it’s not favored by everyone in College Station — namely the students.

In fact, some of them strongly oppose the idea. “Hate it,” even.

When Quinn Leith clocked into work for the day — a job working in the Aggie apparel industry — he wasn’t expecting much. It was a typical afternoon, and as his role required, he was to unpack shipments of gear for them to be set out.

The rising junior did just that. As he went from the main showroom to the back, he would occasionally look at some of the new designs the store had gotten. All of them were Adidas; a byproduct of Texas A&M’s long-standing agreement with the German manufacturer, but that was normal.

What wasn’t normal were the logos and writing on some of the gear shipped in.

“I didn’t even realize it at first,” Leith said, recounting a time when he experienced some merchandise abnormalities at work. “They asked me if I could go grab a pair of shoes from the back, and when I picked it up, I noticed the (Mississippi State) logo.”

Mississippi State, which also happens to have maroon as its featured color, is also an Adidas school. Naturally, Texas A&M isn’t the only program in the country to use the brand for its uniforms and merchandise, but the main gripe from the students’ perspective is the lack of unique products.

A sleeve of one of the Texas A&M Adidas-branded fan-apparel sweatshirts features a simple phrase re-used among other Adidas programs. / Photo provided by Quinn Leith

“There isn’t any customization from one school to the other,” Another Texas A&M Student, Elizabeth Gargis, said. “When you look at Mississippi State and some other schools, the fan apparel is largely the same, just with a different name.”

Leith experienced a handful of incorrect shipments — most notably items that were supposed to be for Mississippi State — but while such errors were few and far between, they were enough to leave a negative impression on not only him, but his coworkers.

“It just rubs us the wrong way,” he said. ” We would get the exact same stuff, but with ‘Bulldogs’ written on it instead of ‘Aggies.'”

No manufacturing business comes without flaws, same as no deal comes without its drawbacks. Leith acknowledged that, complimenting the recent baseball merchandise he’s seen now the No. 1-ranked Aggies are back to regularly filling Olsen Field.

“(Adidas) started making stitched jerseys,” Leith said, holding up a maroon button-up jersey worn by the players. “They’re higher quality and seem to be made more like the players on the field.

“It feels more authentic.”

Authentic as it might be, Aggie students haven’t exactly been pleased with the gear available to them throughout the Aggies’ partnership with Adidas. What Bjork — and now Trev Alberts — experience from their end as far as working with the brand goes certainly seems to be in stark contrast to the student population. Because of that, at least five more years are to come of the Aggies-Adidas merchandise line.

After that? Who knows.

All that’s clear is that Leith and the rest of the 12th Man will have to make do with what they’ve got.

Source : Sports Illustrated

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