Jordan’s Heir Still Wears the Air Jordan
New details have arisen regarding a previous post: Would Jordan Ever Wear Adidas Shoes. After the incident became public, Marcus still refused to wear the team’s Adidas brand shoes on the court. With Marcus continuing to wear his father’s Nike’s, the University of Central Florida is clearly in breach of the contract.
Adidas and UCF discussed this matter again last week and could not find a middle ground on this situation. Before making the decision to halt the contract extension with the University, Adidas spokeswoman Andrea Corso said, “We are in negotiations for a future relationship regarding the broader UCF athletic program. What I can say is that these relationships are based upon agreed deliverables for both parties.” Ultimately, Adidas said they were not willing to bend the rules, even for a Jordan.
If UCF did not allow Marcus to wear Nike’s, they could have lost Marcus Jordan as an athlete. Jordan was very persistent and was never seen wearing anything but Air Jordan’s. He even said that this issue was discussed on his recruiting trip to UCF. The only real option the University had was to amend the prior contract between Adidas and allow Marcus Jordan to be the exception to this sponsorship agreement. UCF athletic director Keith Tribble said Jordan could make his own choice on what shoes to wear. He also mentioned that he wouldn’t be the first athlete at the school to get permission to wear something other than Adidas (a football player wore a different pair of shoes because of a better fit). However, the athlete in this situation was Michael Jordan’s son and the media attention and spotlight were shining bright on the athletic company.
This may seem like a silly dispute over shoes, but the effects of little Jordan’s actions are much more serious. The real issue here is a contract dispute; however the attention this story received will surely have an underlying effect on the current debate about intellectual property rights for NCAA athletes.
Are all student athletes bound by what sponsor the school has chosen or do they have any individual rights? What rights are college athletes giving away by signing with a school and playing college sports?
This is only one of the many conflicts that have arisen lately around the nation regarding college athletes and the rights they have while in school. Last year Nebraska University quarterback Sam Keller filed a lawsuit against video-game company Electronic Arts and the NCAA stating that they were illegally using the images of college football and basketball players in video games without their permission or compensation. Other related intellectual property cases are still pending and awaiting trial. The court will soon have to address the broad range of activities that athletes consent to give the universities when sign their name on the dotted line and agree to play for that school.