Op-Ed: Unless Nike Brings Serious Cash, Huskers Need to Stay with adidas

See that midcourt stripe that Phil Knight is displaying? No? Look closer. It's right there, next to his right foot. - Jonathan Ferrey

If adidas is offering the same or more money than Nike for the same or better product, then the deal should go to adidas.

This week, the Nebraska Board of Regents will look into a five year extension of adidas' uniform agreement to outfit the Huskers athletes. The deal is worth $15.53 million; $8.03 million in cash and $7.5 million in apparel.

CN's Brandon Cavanaugh says Nebraska should punt this deal.

I firmly disagree, unless Nike is offering more. Much more.

Brandon points out that adidas has designed some ugly uniforms recently. Very true. But Nike has designed far more ugliness. From Wyoming to Seattle to Kentucky and throughout the NFL, ugly rules the roost. Sports Illustrated recently put out their list of the Ten Worst College Football uniforms.

Eight of the Ten were Nike products.

Some of this comes down to taste. Nike turned Oregon into the poster child for alternate uniform design. Many people like the Ducks varied looks. Others think they look buffoonish. It really is a matter of personal preference...though let's be honest, except for Green Bay, it's tough to make yellow and green look good.

The pajamas that adidas gave us for the Nebraska/Wisconsin game were bad. But the 1970's replicas we got for basketball games were not. The "Big Color" hoops jerseys that adidas has designed have had generally good reviews, as near as I can tell.

When it comes to design changes, people are either going to love it or hate it. The Nebraska/Wisconsin "unrivaled" uniforms had a major flaw with the big letter and small jersey number. It made it difficult for everybody to identify who was on the field...even the players. So that was a design flaw that should have been judged better. The black and red scheme on the back was fine. But that was one game. Oregon lives for outlandishness, and they do in everything. The chrome helmet? Very cool looking, except for reflections in the opponents' eyes during a game. That shouldn't be allowed. The obscure midcourt stripe at Nike's new arena at Oregon? Again, unfair.

But really the biggest issue with sports outfitting shouldn't be design, it's performance. My personal experience has been that Nike produces an inferior product on the consumer level, time and time again. So I no longer buy the swoosh. Your experience may be different, of course. And the consumer level product isn't the same as what the athletes get.

That one endorsement means more than any fan's opinion. Granted, Peter has been retired from football for years now. And that was one athlete's perspective. But hopefully Nebraska feels comfortable that they getting the best performing product from adidas that they could get if they were paying for it themselves.

And that should be the driving decision behind this choice. That, and the financial package that the outfitter is offering. If adidas is offering the same or more money than Nike for the same or better product, then the deal should go to adidas.

To pick an inferior product that costs the school more money would be bad. Even if some people think it could be "cooler".

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