Sports Biz with Darren Rovell

Adidas, UCF Standoff On Jordan Could Take Some Time

Since we reported that adidas wasn't OK with Marcus Jordan wearing his dad's shoes while playing for UCF this year, we've learned a little bit more about the faceoff between the university and the shoe brand that has a deal with the school through 2010.

A UCF athletic department source told us that at some point, adidas executives signed off on a plan that would allow the younger Jordan to wear Air Jordans. But that soon changed. So too did the progress on the extension for another deal with the brand. Now, we're told, it's time for executives at adidas to say what they need so that both parties can work together or even move on.

We haven’t seen the contract, but in most cases, there are usually no exceptions to school-wide deals like this unless someone has a problem with the shoes. In that case, the school usually has to let adidas know about it and adidas has a chance to give them another type of their shoe or even make a custom shoe. If somehow that can’t happen, an athlete can wear another brand, but that athlete can’t show that brand’s logo.

Marcus Jordan said that he’d be wearing Air Jordans out of family pride. His problem is that even if he is somehow granted the right to wear them, there’s no way he’s going to be flashing the Jumpman logo unless adidas dumps its multi-million dollar deal with the school and his pops or Nike is forced to make up the gap.

We received more than 100 letters from you on this topic, so let’s get to the highlights.

I am a freshman at UCF along with Marcus Jordan. I understand that adidas has a sponsorship with UCF for athletics but you have to look at Marcus' perspective. He has never worn anything besides Jordan gear and shoes. (His high school) Whitney Young uniforms were from Jordan. On campus, you can tell who Marcus Jordan is because from head to toe, the logos and brand name are seen everywhere. His glasses, shirt, pants and shoes all say Jordan. He is comfortable with the brand and it should be his right to wear whatever shoe he would like. Everyone has a preference with their shoes. It’s just a way of life, so if Marcus became good player wearing Jordan sneakers, shouldn't he continue to wear that? Adidas will not win this battle. I can tell you that much. - Nick Kaczar

The world has gone crazy. If he is on the team, then he wears what the team wears. Is he greater than the team, even his father proved that he cannot win the game alone. This is only a kid, don't mess him up before he has a chance to grow up. The consequences are dire.- Michael Cox

It’s great that Marcus Jordan wants to honor his father, but he should do it by being the best player he can be, and showing that he can support his team on and off the court. If Michael Jordan should have anything to say, it should go something like ‘Marcus, put on the Adidas and do your best.’ - Anthony Sotello

There might (stress "might") be some precedent. I recall at the University of Kentucky in the 1980's, we had a player (I think it was a guard named Roger Harden) whose father was an exec with a different shoe company than the one contracted with UK, and he was allowed to wear his dad's company's shoes. - J.P. Green

Do any of us seriously believe that the brand of shoe will actually make a player better?  Is Marcus telling his team he will be less of a player if he doesn't wear his dad's shoes? That's what the Air Jordan hype is all about, that's what youth have bought into (and died for), and that's MJ and Nike laughing all the way to the bank.  Now, at the expense of UCF. -Jobie Low

Questions?  Comments?