Virginia Tech’s Nike Deal, and How it Compares

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Ryan Malleck, Nike
Virginia Tech football players like Ryan Malleck have been wearing the Nike swoosh for years, and will continue to do so until at least 2022 (photo by Ivan Morozov)

Apparel companies have signed contracts recently with college athletic departments that are eyebrow-raisers. The latest salvo in this ongoing battle was fired by Under Armour and UCLA:

UCLA’s Under Armour Deal for $280 Million is the Biggest in NCAA History – May 24, 2016

That deal is a 15-year deal that will begin in 2017, at which point UCLA will transition from adidas to Under Armour. That means the Bruins will make on average $18.7 million a year from the deal, making it, well, The Biggest in NCAA History, as the article says.

UCLA’s deal trumps recent deals by Ohio State, Texas, Michigan, and Notre Dame. The LA Times article linked above has this graphic in it that shows where UCLA lands relative to those deals:

(Source: LA Times)
(Source: LA Times)

How Apparel Deals are Structured

The deals that college athletic departments sign with apparel companies have a total value associated with them, and how that value is calculated varies widely. Nearly all contracts consist of two components: (1) a cash payout from the apparel company to the university athletic department; and (2) uniforms, footwear, and various types of workout gear that have a cash value associated with them.

For example, State U. might have a $3 million per year deal with Nike that includes $2 million a year in gear, and $1 million a year in cash. State U. has a budget of $2 million worth of “stuff” they can get from Nike for all their sports. If the value of the gear they get from Nike is less than or equal to $2 million, no problem. In many cases, however, they can request gear from Nike that amounts to, for example, $2.1 million, and in this case they actually have to pay Nike $100,000 when all is said and done; only the first $2 million worth of gear is free.

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How the cash is doled out varies, and not all deals include a cash component. Nearly all do, but some universities only get the apparel, and no money. (This is rare among P5 schools.)

Sometimes, the cash is paid out in equal amounts over the life of the contract. Sometimes, there’s an upfront signing bonus, plus regular payments. The new UCLA deal with Under Armour, for example, includes a payment of $15 million in cash, up front.

Sometimes, part of the money goes directly to coaches — usually just the football coach and/or men’s basketball coach. In the most egregious example I’ve read about, Steve Spurrier took South Carolina for quite a ride, courtesy of Under Armour, while he was USC-E’s football coach. Most of the cash paid by UA went straight to Spurrier. In all, Spurrier received $5.5 million of the $6.2 million that Under Armour paid South Carolina. He even received his final $250,000 payment from Under Armour after he resigned as head coach last fall.

The Landscape of Collegiate Apparel Deals

The headlines are attention getters, but what’s the full picture? I recently conducted an extensive study of Power 5 (P5) conference schools and their apparel deals, and here’s what I found.

Unfortunately, it’s really bad news for Hokie fans. We’ll get to that in a minute.

I did my best, through the power of Google, to find details on every apparel deal around the nation. To  my knowledge, the data I’m about to pass on is accurate. I did the research in February 2016, then did my best to update the data with deals announced between then and now, such as the UCLA deal above, and a few others. South Carolina, for example, signed a killer new deal recently with Under Armour (10 years, $71.5 million).

Out of 65 schools consisting of the Power 5 schools and Notre Dame, I was able to find information on 50 of the 65 schools. The other 15 schools are either private (thus not subject to open-records requests), or they reside in states where they are exempt from open-records laws. Penn State and Pittsburgh, for example, don’t have to comply with information requests, per Pennsylvania law.

There are three companies in the business of outfitting collegiate athletic departments, and one outlier. Of the 50 schools I was able to find data on, here’s the distribution per apparel company:

  • Nike: 29 schools
  • Under Armour: 11 schools
  • adidas: 9 schools
  • Russell Athletic: 1 school (Georgia Tech)

Nike has dominated the collegiate apparel landscape for years, but recently, Under Armour has been making a push, signing lucrative deals in an attempt to get a foothold in the business. It’s no coincidence that UCLA’s uber-lucrative deal is with Under Armour; UA has been throwing cash around like crazy to make a splash.

In my research, six of the ten most lucrative collegiate apparel deals were signed by UA, despite Nike having UA outnumbered almost three to one. When Under Armour goes, they go all-in.

Virginia Tech’s Nike Deal, and Where it Ranks in the Power 5 Conferences

Virginia Tech’s current deal with Nike is technically an extension of a previous deal that started on July 1, 2007. The extension kicked in on July 1, 2014, and it runs through June 30, 2022. Here is the cash/product breakdown:

Virginia Tech's Nike Deal, Cash/Product Breakdown
Contract YearCash Compensation*Supplied Product LimitTotal Value
2014-15$275,000$1.6 million$1.875 million
2015-16$275,000$1.6 million$1.875 million
2016-17$275,000$1.6 million$1.875 million
2017-18$275,000$1.6 million$1.875 million
2018-19$275,000$1.8 million$2.075 million
2019-20$275,000$1.8 million$2.075 million
2020-21$275,000$1.8 million$2.075 million
2021-22$275,000$1.8 million$2.075 million
Average (8 Years)$275,000/yr$1.7 million/yr$1.975 million/yr
* During Frank Beamer's tenure as coach, $150,000 of the Cash Compensation was paid directly to him. Upon his retirement, that amount is now paid to the university.

Where does Virginia Tech’s Nike deal rank nationally with all apparel contracts?

Well … the news is not good for Hokie fans. To be direct, Virginia Tech’s deal is 5th-worst out of the 50 apparel deals I researched, when ranked on a scale of monetary value per year, from smallest to largest.

SchoolConf.CompanyAnnual valueExp. Date
Iowa StateBig12Nike $442,857 Expires in 2018
RutgersB10Nike $1,040,000 Expires in 2017
IowaB10Nike $1,850,000 Expires in 2018
Oklahoma StateBig12Nike $1,850,000 Expires in 2017
Virginia TechACCNike $1,975,000 Expires in 2022
Georgia TechACCRussell $2,000,000 Expires in 2018
PurdueB10Nike $2,025,000 Expires in 2021
Kansas StateBig12Nike $2,050,000 * Expired in 2012
ColoradoPAC12Nike $2,115,000 Expires in 2016
Oregon StatePAC12Nike $2,125,000 Expires in 2019
Texas TechBig12Under Armour $2,150,000 * Expired in 2014
MinnesotaB10Nike $2,200,000 Expires in 2020
MissouriSECNike $2,250,000 Expires in 2019
Washington StatePAC12Nike $2,300,000 Expires in 2025
UtahPAC12Under Armour $2,416,000 Expires in 2017
Mississippi StateSECadidas $2,500,000 Expires in 2021
ClemsonACCNike $2,875,000 Expires in 2023
NebraskaB10adidas $3,000,000 Expires in 2018
FloridaSECNike $3,300,000 Expires in 2024
MarylandB10Under Armour $3,300,000 Expires in 2024
WashingtonPAC12Nike $3,325,000 Expires in 2019
Michigan StateB10Nike $3,400,000 Expires in 2024
OregonPAC12Nike $3,450,000 Expires in 2018
UVAACCNike $3,500,000 Expires in 2025
AlabamaSECNike $3,670,000 Expires in 2018
UNCACCNike $3,700,000 Expires in 2018
ArizonaPAC12Nike $3,800,000 Expires in 2025
KentuckySECNike $3,825,000 Expires in 2025
Ole MissSECNike $3,900,000 Expires in 2027
GeorgiaSECNike $4,080,000 Expires in 2024
Arizona StatePAC12adidas $4,225,000 Expires in 2023
LSUSECNike $4,300,000 Expires in 2022
KansasBig12adidas $4,333,333 Expires in 2019
TennesseeSECNike $4,400,000 Expires in 2023
IllinoisB10Nike $4,450,000 Expires in 2026
FSUACCNike $5,000,000 Expires in 2023
OklahomaBig12Nike $5,200,000 Expires in 2024
NC StateACCadidas $6,450,000 Expires in 2022
IndianaB10adidas $6,700,000 Expires in 2024
Texas A&MSECadidas $7,100,000 Expires in 2022
South CarolinaSECUnder Armour $7,150,000 Expires in 2026
LouisvilleACCadidas $7,800,000 Expires in 2019
CaliforniaPAC12Under Armour $8,560,000 Expires in 2027
AuburnSECUnder Armour $8,680,000 Expires in 2025
Notre DameACCUnder Armour $9,000,000 Expires in 2024
WisconsinB10Under Armour $9,600,000 Expires in 2025
MichiganB10Nike $15,800,000 Expires in 2027
TexasBig12Nike $16,666,667 Expires in 2030
Ohio StateB10Nike $16,800,000 Expires in 2031
UCLAPAC12Under Armour $18,666,667 Expires in 2032
MiamiACCadidasn/a
DukeACCNiken/a
PittsburghACCNiken/a
SyracuseACCNiken/a
Wake ForestACCNiken/a
Penn StateB10Niken/a
BaylorBig12Niken/a
TCUBig12Niken/a
WVUBig12Niken/a
ArkansasSECNiken/a
VanderbiltSECNiken/a
StanfordPAC12Niken/a
USCPAC12Niken/a
Boston CollegeACCUnder Armourn/a
NorthwesternB10Under Armourn/a
* Notes:
1.) The Kansas State and Texas Tech deals shown have already expired; information for their new deals was not available.
2.) Schools for which no data is listed are exempt from open records requests, and have thus never provided data for public consumption.
3.) Some deals shown have not yet started, but will kick in soon (UCLA, for example, doesn't start with Under Armour until summer 2017).
4.) For an Excel spreadsheet with more information, including links to sources, click here.

In addition to Virginia Tech’s deal being less lucrative than most, it runs longer than the other low-value deals that surround it. While VT’s deal runs through 2022, the other five schools in the bottom six — Iowa State, Rutgers, Iowa, Oklahoma State, and Georgia Tech — will all get a chance to sign new deals, by 2018 … in an environment where apparel deal values are skyrocketing.

By 2018, Virginia Tech’s apparel deal could be the worst in the nation among Power 5 schools. In this age of competitive bidding between Under Armour, Nike, and adidas, expect Rutgers, Iowa, and Oklahoma State to all sign deals better than Virginia Tech’s, and even Iowa State has a good shot at doing so.

Which begs the question: how did this happen?

How Virginia Tech Wound Up Here

Virginia Tech’s last contract with Nike ran through June 30, 2015. That contract can be viewed in PDF form by clicking here, but note one thing: the cover page says July 1, 2007 – June 30, 2018, but section 2 (TERM) on Page 4 specifies the start and end dates as 7/1/2007 – 6/30/2015.

In late 2013, a couple of key things happened:

1.) On November 12, 2013, the late Jim Weaver announced his retirement as athletic director, effective January 1, 2014.

2.) Negotiations for an extension of Virginia Tech’s contract with Nike were initiated, even though the contract wasn’t due to expire until mid-2015.

To be clear, I don’t know when item #2 started. It may have been before Jim Weaver’s retirement announcement; it may have been after.

In the months before Whit Babcock was hired in early 2014, the terms of a new deal with Nike were hammered out. Babcock had no part in that, and it’s not clear who did, at least not to me. There have been posts on the message board naming specific VT athletic department employees, but in several interviews in which Babcock has talked about the Nike deal — including one with TechSideline.com — the question “Who negotiated this deal?” was never asked directly, and thus never answered.

When Whit Babcock started at Tech in February 2014 — he worked part time at VT in the early part of the month, then transitioned to full-time on roughly February 17th, 2014 — the new Nike deal was put on his desk for him to sign.

“The Nike deal was put together right before I got here and was almost literally on my desk the day I got here,” Babcock told David Teel of the Newport News Daily Press in August of 2015.

The situation didn’t give Babcock much time or inclination to review the deal. In an interview with me in February of 2016, Babcock noted, “When I looked at the deal here, it was my understanding it had been approved across campus. Coach Beamer, a lot of people were involved in it.”

That’s not a good environment for a brand new athletic director, with some major pressing issues on his to-do list, to take a stand.

Babcock wasn’t a newbie to apparel deals. As an executive associate director of athletics at Missouri, he worked on Missouri’s Nike deal in the 2010-11 time frame, before apparel deals started to mushroom, and before Missouri was invited to the SEC.

While Babcock was the athletic director at Cincinnati, their deal with adidas was coming to a close, and he was working on a new deal. Cincinnati eventually broke from Adidas in 2015 and signed with Under Armour, to the tune of $47 million over ten years — $4.7 million per year.

“We were talking to Nike and Under Armour and all that, so I felt like I knew enough to be dangerous,” Babcock said in our interview of his time at Cincinnati. So through his work at Missouri and Cincinnati, Babcock was no stranger to the world of apparel deals.

Of Virginia Tech’s deal he says, “Certainly nobody forced me to sign it, but it was presented as ‘here’s where we are and Nike’s been good to us.’ And I reviewed it, and I just did not feel at that time that it was a smart move necessarily to put it out on the street, and I thought I should get my feet on the ground at  Virginia Tech.”

So Babcock signed off on the deal, and in the two years since then, as you know from the headlines and the deals outlined above, apparel contracts have exploded. The timing of Virginia Tech’s deal was poor, and the Hokies are falling further behind with each new announcement.

That boom in apparel deals has been driven in part by adidas and Under Armour attempting to grab market share from Nike. “An Adidas contract typically pays more than Nike,” Babcock notes. “They have to buy market share and other things, so the Adidas deals and the Under Armor deals are usually more lucrative on the cash side. But the brand power of Nike is worth a lot too.

“I also want to be real clear on this,” Babcock adds, “That brand power of Nike means a lot. I like the Virginia Tech brand beside the Nike swoosh. That’s a good thing. So yes, I don’t fault anybody else for how they did it, and it was a better deal than we had before. But that’s the context I recall viewing it in at the time.”

That’s diplomatically phrased by Whit Babcock, and for the time being, he’s correct about the power of the Nike brand. It’s especially strong in basketball, where the vast majority of college coaches don’t want to go AAU recruiting without the power of the Nike brand behind them. That may change over time, but for now, Nike rules the roost in basketball. (As a sidebar, the contract was negotiated when Virginia Tech’s basketball value was bottoming out under former head coach James Johnson.)

It’s worth noting that when Babcock was hired, Frank Beamer was still the head coach, and Frank Beamer liked Nike as well.

As Babcock noted in our February interview, Nike also participated in a brand refresh of Virginia Tech athletics, the results of which can be viewed here. Only five schools around the country each year receive Nike’s free brand-refresh treatment. Babcock was also one of just a small handful (“five or six”) of athletic directors who recently toured Nike’s Asia operations.

In Babcock’s eyes, Nike has been a good partner, and Virginia Tech is happy with the relationship.

As the time goes by and (speaking bluntly) Virginia Tech’s deal continues to look worse and worse, is there a chance for the Hokies to renegotiate?

“Not to my knowledge,” Babcock said. “I believe there’s something that kicks in in later years of the contract where it doesn’t get all the way to the last year before you can start talking about it. So in general, around 2-3 years out is about the time you would start talking about it and start laying the groundwork for the next deal. Usually Nike will approach schools about it well before it finishes to start talking about the next one. But no, not to my knowledge, there’s not an automatic clause in there, but it’s been awhile since I’ve read the entire contract.”

 

Additional reading/source material:

Note that every effort was made for the Excel spreadsheet to be as accurate as possible. Corrections and clarifications can be made in the comments section below.

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62 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. No coach or anyone else at a college should be able to get money by having the college sign with a certain company – it just looks bad period.

  2. Whit signed it, had an opportunity to stop and re-assess, as many new leaders do, and he didn’t. He needs to own this stinker..Dont we have lawyers and due diligence??

  3. Will — Whit implied in his Andy Bitter interview that the number of sports teams affected the size of the apparel deal. Did you compare that across schools?

    His quote: ” And even that, though, when you compare the pure numbers, some schools have 30 sports, some have 16. The numbers are always different. But in general, our deal, it’s all of our teams and we do pretty well financially.”

    1. He’s just being diplomatic. We have more sports than SEC and several ACC schools…

  4. Shameful, however if we charge more for seats we can make up for the bad deal with Nike.

  5. Nike’s “brand refresh” of Hokie uniforms is a joke. Changing a strong font style to a sissy-looking, less readable style, and changing a tiny trim is not helpful. Nike should be ashamed of their gross failure to produce something of value. Sue Nike for non-performance and malpractice.

  6. Will, thanks for your hard work. Honestly, I stopped reading when you said 5th worst. This is not a new problem. VT’s leadership in terms of licensing and branding has been so ass backwards for decades, that it is incredible this small mindedness has been allowed to exist for so long! It’s not that people don’t want to BUY VT apparel around the US. It is that VT would not do the licensing deals to make this happen.

    Hey, I have no regrets saying I shop at Walmart when I travel. Everywhere I work- LV, Utah, Louiseville, Texas, Orlando, etc., that chain always has extensive apparel of the schools of that state, and many other schools outside of that state. I just don’t see the same for VT. It it ridiculous.

    1. This was not a 2015 problem. Or a 2014 problem. It was a 2004 problem, or a 1994 problem. Or even a 1989 problem. Seriously, when VT decided to expand around 1990, it was well beyond a medium size school- with many alumni. So closed minded in terms of business!

    2. The article makes me feel somewhat sick.
      What is the process for vetting a contract like this? What individuals are involved and what skills/knowledge do they possess to determine if the arrangement is a good one for VT or not? It appears we got our pocket picked and we didn’t do it for a short period of time but an extended period.
      Someone had this teed up when Whit arrived and I understand the pressure on him to go along with it.
      Should there be a structure in place to avoid this amateur hour action in the future? More transparency should exist so the alum that are asked to contribute know their monies are being wisely used and maximum revenues generated when opportunities arise.

  7. SHAME on VT no excuse accepted now I know why we need more money from VT fans I am shocked and disappointed in my school for making this deal

  8. The deal that jumps out to me is Clemson’s $2.875M through 2023. For a program that probably sees itself as top-5 in the nation right now (or at least top-10 caliber), their annual payout seems pretty paltry. Second lowest Nike deal in the ACC, with the Wahoos making 22% more!

      1. In an era where it’s common knowledge how bribery is used with FIFA, I can’t help but wonder if the apparel companies sometimes get better deals by “greasing the wheels”. I know absolutely NOTHING about this issue. Repeat, I know absolutely NOTHING. However, when Clemson signs a deal for less than $3 mil but NCState is almost $7 mil, something stinks.

        One other comment. There are 14 schools that make less than $1 mil more than the VT deal. When compared with the schools at the upper end of the list, every single one of them should be upset. Even Alabama makes half what Louisville and Cal get. California at Berkley has a sweet deal, based on those numbers, and I have to think it has more to do with demographics than the product on the court/field. Granted, Bama’s deal ends soon and I’d be surprised if their next deal isn’t much better. But this looks like something where we may be comparing apples to oranges…and grapes…and radishes…and potbelly pigs.

  9. Never liked Nike and haven’t bought any of their horrible product in over 10 years.

  10. Babcock dropped the ball on this and shouldn’t get a pass. He had just worked out a $4.7M/year deal for Cincinnati yet thought VT would be OK at $2.1M? Didn’t want to rock the boat? Just pure professional negligence on his part, costing VT several million a year for the next 6 years. And now he has to make this money up somewhere — hmmmm?

    1. Thank you for picking up on the same thought I had. The contract wasn’t to expire for 18 months. You are the new guy, you’d think that’s the time to step up and say “Hey, I just did one of these at UC. I’m quite Confident I can get us another $3 mil a year”

      To be honest, this is where I struggle with TSL a little bit. I understand this isn’t the Washington post with separate editorial staff from reporters. Will is on record with his objections to how he was treated by Weaver. I believe some of those beefs make his motives seem a little less than pure when writing a column like this.

      OK, you feel Weaver negotiated a weak deal in 2013….fine. You’d have to assume he didn’t think so. Shame on him. But to knowingly sign a weak deal? Why would a columnist give him a pass? Because……connect the dots.

      1. Think of it this way: I didn’t give Whit a pass. Giving him a pass would have been not running this article at all. (No one else ran a piece like this, even though everyone in the media knows it’s a *terrible* deal, and they have danced around the edges of it in some interviews.)

        What I did was give Whit a chance to go on record with his side of the story. Was I kind to him? Sure. I presented one side of the story — the numbers, which speak for themselves — and the other side — Whit’s comments, and reasons why it happened the way it did.

        And I don’t mind admitting that it pains me to run this article. It makes VT and Whit look bad. But it’s important information, and it needs to be fully quantified and captured.

        Anyway, I don’t mind your comments. But one more thing: Weaver didn’t negotiate the deal. He wasn’t involved.

    2. I agree. No pass for Babcock on this at all. This is exactly the kind of thing he should have spoken up on.

  11. You would think with how little Nike is paying VT they could at least be able to get our school colors correct on our uniforms- hey Phil Knight just FYI, they’re Chicago Maroon (not burgundy) and Burnt Orange (not Halloween orange).

  12. (Hosed). There is competition out there. That gives you leverage. Every contract has an out. Buckle up Whit.

  13. It feels like disrespect to me. Until Nike resolves the issue, I resolve not to buy anything Nike and make sure all my Hokie friends are aware of this. I guess its’ back to New Balance shoes, Foot Joy golf shoes, and Under Armour everything else. Under Armour makes some really cool Virginia Tech gear.

  14. Is there a buy out like coaches contracts? So after a few years buy out, go with UA and the money gained will more than make up the difference.
    Just a thought

    1. Heck, if there is a buy out, I would imagine the possibility exists that UA might pay the buy out just to take VT from Nike… especially in the next year or so if Fuente and Babcock turn the teams around to being competitive again. Babcock is on the way… I imagine Fuente isn’t far behind.

  15. So over the next 6 years we get $12m from Nike and USCe gets $$42m from UA. Is there no way to get UA to cover the cost of breakup/litigation over that time and VT and UA both still come out ahead?

  16. Will, did your research turn up the year the deals were inked? Maybe it’s in your spreadsheet (I am on mobile right now). May help to clarify the timing of things even more.

    1. Some of that info is in the spreadsheet, but I’ll admit that I didn’t make an effort to research and document it.

  17. I know I like Addidas and UA’s stuff way better than Nike when it comes to workout clothes. When I was in high school I preferred Nike and then in college I switched to Addidas. Now as a grown up it is pretty much all Addidas and UA for me. I have a handful of Nike but that’s it.

  18. Just another example of ass backwards stuck in the past thinking that Frank Beamer and the athletic department in general had. No visionary. Not a single one.

    But Whit is a visionary. Glad we have him.

    This sounds like we’re thankful that Nike is considering us and giving free shoes.
    Pathetic.

    We are Virginia Tech. Have some pride in our brand, people. (directed at the administration).

    1. Yeah, Whit wasn’t very visionary in reviewing this deal. In fact, he was negligent IMO.

  19. Making matters worse with this deal is the fact Stu Plank, former Hokies OL and brother of Kevin Plank CEO/Founder of Under Armour, tried relentlessly to get Beamer and Weaver to consider deal offers from UA!

    1. And this fact of our unwillingness to do business with “family” is an indictment of Beamer, Weaver and ultimately Whit. It is my understanding that the Plank’s requested a meeting with a substantial offer in the works but it went nowhere. Why???

  20. It would appear Nike is giving VT perks to make up for not giving more cash.

    I guess the Nike swoosh is more a basketball recruiting tool but since Louisville, Indiana, UCLA and Kansas are not Nike, maybe the swoosh is not as big a deal as before. I would be fine with Nike if they spent the design time on Hokie uniforms they evidently do for Oregon. The Ducks unis are always coordinated even when they wear atrocious color combinations. They always look sharp! VT’s unis barely match color wise and are typically not overly sharp in coordination.

    VT is stuck with Nike for now so Whit should take them to task to make Hokie uniforms have a uniqueness to them.

  21. It’s interesting that this poor deal times in well with the decline of the VT Football on field performance.

    1. I agree. Because of empty seats in Lane and Cassell I don’t think VT is in a good negotiating position with Nike. We need 10 win football seasons again, and 20 win basketball seasons to get big bucks out of Nike. I would like to stay with Nike because of their #1 branding, like Whit says, but if Under Armour offers more bucks, you can’t blame VT for changing. Actually with all the talk about stripes or non-stripes on football uniforms, Under Armour may turn out to be more amenable to VT.

      1. That argument doesn’t completely hold water. Look at the list of schools that are making more money than VT is and probably signed new contracts around the time we did, based on the expiration date.

        When the Washington State’s of the world are making more on their contracts, then someone in the athletic department was a complete fool when it came to negotiating.

  22. Awful deal, no other way to say it. This deal is so bad that it probably is one of the causative agents of the new Hokie Club seating change.

  23. Regardless of the excuses/reasons, I have to admit I am very disappointed in Whit’s signing of this contract. Really poor effort there by the department and I would have hoped someone as savvy as Whit would have recognized it and balked – HARD! No way to sugar coat it, it’s a lousy deal and runs far too long.

    1. Well, we all make mistakes. I’m sure that if he had a chance to do it over again, he’d do it differently.

      I feel the same way about some of the stuff we’ve done in the past at TSL. 🙂

      A buddy of mine uses a phrase called “taking a drink from a firehose.” Whit was taking a drink from a firehose when he got here, and he missed one. It happens. Unfortunately, this miss propagates for 8 years.

      1. Oh, I agree but it is disappointing none the less as it is important and long as you stated. Not in any way looking for his head – not at all! just disappointed.

        1. There is nothing wrong with approaching Nike in 2 or 3 years, when we are likely to have the worst apparel deal in the country, and telling them that they need to strongly consider renegotiating the current contract early….like now. If they do not and leave us at the bottom, then that shows you how they feel about VT, regardless of how we feel about them. At that point, you INVITE everyone else it and basically have an auction. At that point it is no longer about relationships. It is now a commodity…..created by Nike.

          1. Bingo. We’re already 2 years into the new contract. If I were Whit, I would be sending nice letter now voicing our concerns about the poor contract negotiated by lame duck employees of the athletic department.

            I’d ask them for some relief on this really, really poor contract. I wouldn’t expect a total renegotiation, but I would expect some relief.

            While I wouldn’t be threatening them about leaving when the contract was up, if Nike didn’t step up to the plate, I would file that info away.

            When time came for negotiations on a new contract, I’d then let all apparel companies that we’re entertaining offers for a new contract. I’d also let Nike know past relationships do not guarantee future positive considerations.

            In fact, a Nike contract would need a little sweetening to help make up for past contracts.

          2. Amen to this suggestion and to Atlee’s comments below. Nike can be made to care about the low-balling of a contract with VT, a deal negotiated by a lame-duck administration. The bitching of the Alumni about it should not be discounted by the athletic department nor by Nike. It looks to me like a really bad deal, and I am actually very surprised that Whit did not ask for a full review of the deal before signing the contract. What was the hurry?

      2. Given his responsibilities and the obvious significant impact and term of the contract, the “gee I missed one” excuse really doesn’t fly. What it really seems like is that Whit as a new hire didn’t want to step on toes or make waves and likely thought that he had plausible deniability regarding any issue that later arose.

        1. We do have the benefit of hindsight, so you have to take that into consideration when damning anyone for what and WHEN they did something.

        2. Let’s see, you’re the new Division head. You 1st day on the job you’re handed a contract to sign that has been negotiated / finalized and are told the CEO (Burrus Hall) and the legend coach have approved it. It just needs your signature.
          What would you do? If you have been a division head before, the answer would be….sign it and get to know the lay of the land the 1st day. The blame goes with the prior division head management and Nike for re-negotiating an existing bad contract knowing that VT had a Division head in name only. If I was Whit, I’d let Nike know now that they took advantage of VT’s situation at that time and he will remember that. If it doesn’t lead to a re-negotiation then open it up to all bidders.

          1. It didn’t need to be signed that day though. But yes, Whit didn’t want to say on his first day that Frank and the other that “worked hard” on it were idiots.

            He should’ve not said anything and not signed anything. But hopefully we can pressure a renegotiation sooner rather than later.

          2. Whit could have waited a week or two as the deal was no where near the end and then had a discussion about it. At least raise some concerns.

            Shoot, he didn’t waste time in getting rid of Johnson so I don’t buy the excuse that he didn’t want to rock the boat. He’s done nothing BUT that (in a good way) since he got here.

            In a year or two when football and basketball is trending north he should quietly ask Nike to revisit our deal while at the same time letting them know we are open to others when the contract is up. Put the onus on Nike.

          3. He can’t go in hat and hand and blame Weaver. He’d make himself look foolish. The first thing Nike does is pull out the contract and a calendar. “Mr Babcock, is that your signature?”…..”And Mr Babcock, it says here you started at VT in February, 2014……and the previous contract was set to expire June 30, 2015…,,how many months is that after you started?”

            “Nike took advantage of whom, Mr Babcock”?

            If it’s a bad deal, knowingly signing a bad deal is far worse than negotiating a bad deal.

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