By Ryan Chichester
The adidas brand can be seen scattered around most college campuses, its three-tiered triangle logo carrying a sense of prideful omnipresence. The company saw an 18-percent increase in sales in 2016 as it continues to be a pillar in the sports equipment industry, embracing their motivating slogan “Impossible is nothing.”
Most were shocked to hear the adidas name dragged through a groundbreaking controversy as news broke in early October about deals with multiple prominent schools that were being investigated by the FBI. National powerhouses like Louisville, USC and Miami reportedly accepted thousands of dollars from adidas to sign certain coveted recruits, which has resulted in a major shakeup in the college basketball world, and more dark corners of the sport figure to be exposed as the investigation rages on.
The national saga also has the potential to hit close to home for students and athletes at Quinnipiac University.
Quinnipiac recently announced a partnership with adidas, and teams began sporting the logo in July. The current partnership is expected to last through the 2023-2024 season.
"adidas has a phenomenal reputation and a long history of providing an excellent product to college and professional teams,” Quinnipiac director of athletics Greg Amodio said back when the partnership was first announced.
However, the reputation of adidas has taken a massive hit due to the recent scandal, and leaves the company’s relationship with Quinnipiac in question. How is the school handling the massive blemish on its new athletic apparel provider? Could the adidas logo next to the cursive Q turn from a badge of honor to a scarlet letter?
According to school officials, the shockwaves of the national scandal don’t reverberate onto Quinnipiac campuses, and there has been no contact from the company since arrests were made.
“I haven’t heard anything,” Associate Athletic Director Ken Sweeten said of any contact with Adidas since the scandal hit social media two weeks ago. “The Athletic Director hasn’t heard anything. I haven’t received any statement from adidas. If we haven’t by now, I don’t think we will.”
Sweeten’s sentiments are echoed elsewhere on campus, particularly in the Office of Residential Life, where student Resident Assistants (RAs) are now also sporting the adidas logo on their uniforms, although some students have taken to using their name tags as a mask to cover the iconic logo on their chest.
“I have not heard any comments or seen any change in attitude from RAs regarding the adidas logo on their staff shirts.” Director of Residential Life Mark DeVilbiss said.
Players haven’t noticed any change either, aside from a slight annoyance of having to store away all of their previous non-adidas gear that is now off limits when it comes to any Quinnipiac-related activities.
Quinnipiac is on a much smaller scale than schools like Kansas and Louisville in terms of academic prominence, but even many of those schools like have not heard from the company, or the FBI.
“I think that’s probably a good thing.” Sweeten said about the silence from the adidas offices.
While there seems to be a lack of concern on campus, men’s basketball head coach Baker Dunleavy acknowledges the magnitude of the situation.
“It’s an earth-shattering investigation,” Dunleavy said. “It’s one of those things that make you focus on yourself even more. You have to make sure your own house is good, and you’re doing things the right way, and compliantly.”
adidas did issue a brief statement shortly after the news broke, saying they were “unaware of any misconduct and will fully cooperate with any authorities.” The lack of conduct with the school is seen as sign of business as usual for Quinnipiac, although it is clear the early stages of the partnership are off to an interesting start.