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Report: Nike refused to pay Washington more than rival Oregon for new apparel deal

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It doesn’t get the attention of the Iron Bowl nor does it have as cool of a name as ‘The Holy War’ but the rivalry between Oregon and Washington is one of the most intense in college sports — especially football — and extends well into everyday life in the Pacific Northwest.

One of things that many Huskies fans have taken issue with over the years has been the accent of the Ducks to a national power thanks in part due to aid from alum Phil Knight, who just so happens to be the longtime leader of Nike — the two schools’ common apparel outfitter for decades. Washington recently ditched the swoosh as part of a record-setting nine-figure apparel deal with Portland-based adidas and some interesting tidbits are coming out about the new pact and how it went down.

Namely, per Seattle Times reporter Adam Jude, that Nike refused to offer Washington more money than they were paying rival and featured program Oregon.

While one could argue about the business merits of refusing to pay the Huskies more than the Ducks and allowing them to leave for adidas, something says that dollars and cents were not the only thing considered when negotiating with the purple and gold.

Washington ditches Nike, signs huge deal with rival adidas

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The swoosh is no more at Washington.

Late last week, it was reported that Washington was in the midst of negotiations that would decide whether the university’s sports teams would remain clad in Nike apparel or they would switch to rival adidas.  Tuesday, UW announced that they have agreed to terms on a 10-year partnership with adidas.

UW had been with Nike since 1997, and has been making in the neighborhood of $3,5 annually from the Oregon-based company in recent years.  While the financial particulars weren’t released by the school, the Seattle Times has reported that adidas “has agreed to pay the Huskies $5.275 million annually in cash, $5.58 million annually in product and $1.1 million annually for marketing.”

All told, the 10-year deal is worth $119 million.

UW’s new deal averages out to $11.9 million annually, which is slightly more than the $11.7 million a year Nebraska will be paid by adidas as part of their agreement reached in August of 2017.  Per the Times, UW’s adidas agreement is one of the Top 10 apparel deals in the country.

“Like the University of Washington, adidas is a respected worldwide brand, and this unique partnership will position us for great success moving forward,” Huskies head football coach Chris Petersen said in a statement. “We are excited to partner with adidas, and we believe our student-athletes will benefit greatly from this agreement.”

Washington reportedly closing in on record new apparel deal with Nike or Adidas

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Washington may be going from the swoosh to the three stripe life… or not.

The Huskies are in the middle of negotiating their next apparel deal according to the Seattle Times and both incumbent Nike and their top competitor Adidas are set to put some financial muscle behind a potential record-setting contract with the school. It appears Under Armour has bowed out of the race to outfit the purple and gold in, well, purple and gold but the two other companies are apparently making a strong impression to get something done before 2019 rolls around.

“We’re in such a competitive industry, and we are building a lot of momentum in Husky athletics right now,” athletics director Jennifer Cohen told the paper. “What we’re looking for in any partnership is an edge. How do we differentiate ourselves? That edge can come in a variety of different forms. And obviously a financial commitment from a partner is critical right now for us. We have a budget that we need to balance long-term and we need it healthy so we can support all 22 of our teams and do that at the highest level.”

Complicating things for Washington might be their heated Pac-12 rival Oregon, whose affiliation with Nike and founder Phil Knight is apparently a subject of heated debate among some Huskies fans. The Times notes that the swoosh has been outfitting the school since 1997 but is unlikely to give a bigger deal than the one they gave the Ducks (a reported 11-year, $88-million deal), which might be just the opening Adidas needs to add another school to their portfolio out West.

Either way, Washington is looking at quite the big increase in dollars, cents and uniforms no matter which way they go in a deal that could top $8 million a year. While things could be done in the next month, the school does have time as their current pact with Nike goes through the 2018-19 season and ends officially next summer.

Michigan pays $375,000 to Virginia Tech to cancel future series

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For all of you counting down the days until Michigan hosts Washington in 2021, good news. You are now one week closer to seeing that game in the Big House.

Michigan and Washington have agreed to bump up the date of their future contest in Ann Arbor by one week. Now, the game will be played on September 11, 2021. That date became available when Michigan and Virginia Tech terminated their previous contract for a home-and-home series to be played in 2020 and 2021.

As announced by Michigan, the program has agreed to pay Virginia Tech $375,000 for a cancellation fee to get out of games scheduled for Sept. 19, 220 in Blacksburg and Sept. 11, 2021 in Ann Arbor. Michigan’s road trip to Washington scheduled for Sept. 5, 2020 remains where it was originally scheduled. Michigan’s release on the schedule changes noted the Wolverines and Hokies will evaluate future possibilities to get a series back on the schedule.

With a vacancy opened in 2020 as a result of the schedule adjustments, Michigan will now host Arkansas State on Sept. 19, 2020 instead. Michigan’s Big Ten schedule opens up the following week at home against Wisconsin and then Penn State in back-to-back weeks followed by a road game at Michigan State. Having Virginia Tech leading into that stretch two weeks after opening the season at Washington would have been a tall order.

The Washington and Virginia Tech home-and-home deals originally overlapped for Michigan, so the Wolverines still have their scheduling requirement of at least one power conference opponent satisfied through 2027 even with the removal of the Virginia Tech series. Michigan has future home-and-home deals lined up with Notre Dame (starting this season), UCLA, Texas, and Oklahoma.

Big 12 is only conference with College Football Playoff and Final Four participant

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A basketball tournament that opened with 68 teams vying for a chance to win in all has come down to four final contenders. Over the weekend, Villanova, Kansas, Michigan, and Loyola-Chicago all captured their respective regions to advance to next weekend’s Final Four in San Antonio, Texas. With Big 12 champion Kansas reaching the final weekend, the Big 12 is the only conference this year to place a team in both the College Football Playoff and the Final Four of the men’s basketball tournament.

The Oklahoma Sooners won the Big 12’s football championship last fall and were sent to Pasadena, California to play SEC champion Georgia in the Rose Bowl semifinal of the College Football Playoff. The Oklahoma men’s basketball team also was selected to play in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, although they did not stick around for very long. The Sooners were bounced in the first round by Rhode Island. This marks the second time the Big 12 has had a final four team in both sports. The last time it happened was 2016 when Oklahoma played in their first College Football Playoff and the Sooners reached the basketball Final Four. Oklahoma is still the only school to reach the Final Four in both sports in the same season in the young College Football Playoff era.

This year marks the first season in which the ACC was not represented in each sport’s final four since the introduction of the College Football Playoff, thanks to Kansas knocking out Duke in a regional final on Sunday. The ACC was represented by Florida State and Duke in the College Football Playoff and Final Four, respectively, in the 2014-2015 season. Clemson football has appeared in the past three College Football Playoff brackets while the Final Four was represented by the ACC thanks to North Carolina and Syracuse in 2016, and UNC again in 2017 (The Tar Heels won it all last season).

The SEC has had a final four team in both sports twice in the CFB Playoff era. Alabama has been in every College Football Playoff to date and in 2015 (Kentucky) and 2017 (South Carolina), the SEC had a basketball team win a region to get to the Final Four.

The Big Ten has had a team in the final four of both sports in the same season just once. Ohio State played in the inaugural College Football Playoff in 2014-2015, and the basketball Final Four included both Wisconsin and Michigan State to represent the Big Ten a few months later. This year’s Michigan team is the first Final Four team out of the Big Ten since then. This is also the first year the Big Ten was not included in the College Football Playoff.

The Pac-12 has also had a team in the final four in both sports just once, and it occurred last year. Washington was selected to play in the College Football Playoff and Oregon reached the Final Four. This year the Pac-12 was left out of the College Football Playoff and the conference went 0-3 in the NCAA Tournament.

A non-power conference has never been represented in the College Football Playoff (although that hasn’t stopped UCF from claiming a national championship), but a mid-major in the Final Four has happened each of the past two seasons (which of course does not include the Big East, since the Big East is considered a major conference in basketball).

The ACC is the only conference to get a team to reach the championship game in both sports in the same season. Clemson’s back-to-=back College Football Playoff national championship appearances against Alabama in 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 was accompanied by North Carolina’s back-to-back national championship game appearances in the same seasons (against Villanova and Gonzaga, respectively). Of course, that means the ACC is the only conference to win it all in the same season in the brief College Football Playoff era with Clemson and UNC winning it all in 2016-2017.

Helmet sticker to Diehards.