In July 2021, the NCAA instituted groundbreaking changes allowing college athletes to enter into sponsorship deals, sell personally affiliated merchandise, and earn money from social media accounts. On March 23, Adidas changed the college landscape yet again.
As we approach the 50th anniversary of Title IX (prohibition of gender discrimination in educational institutions), Adidas has announced a new campaign to ensure that NCAA student-athletes, regardless of gender, have equal access to its Name, Image, Likeness (NIL) network. . Through the campaign, 50,000 eligible student-athletes across 23 Division I sports and 109 Adidas partner schools will be able to become paid Affiliate Brand Ambassadors – a first for a major sports brand. The new network will roll out beginning with historically black colleges and universities and through Power Five conference partners in the fall. By April 2023, Adidas plans to include access for every qualifying school.
“At Adidas, we are committed to creating change through sport and recognize the important role student-athletes play in shaping the future,” Rupert Campbell, president of Adidas North America, said in a statement. hurry. “Our groundbreaking NIL program advances our commitments to inclusion in sport and inspires athletes to achieve a more equitable world. I can’t wait to see it come to life.
To celebrate the occasion and honor the historic Title IX anniversary, Adidas schools participating in the NCAA Sweet 16 Round men’s and women’s basketball tournaments donned “More Is Possible” t-shirts and will be doing so until at the end of the league matches. The back of the shirts features a quote of the iconic 37 words that have officially banned gender discrimination in American education and collegiate athletics.
“No person in the United States shall, because of sex, be excluded from participation, denied benefits, or discriminated against in any educational program or activity benefiting from ‘federal financial assistance.’
The move is just the apparel giant’s latest initiative in its ongoing Impossible Is Nothing campaign, which aims to increase accessibility, celebrate inclusivity and create a more equitable future in sport. This includes partnership programs such as Athlete Ally, intended to assess and support improved Athletic Equality Index scores at universities, and support for the McLendon Foundation, which establishes paid scholarships for minorities in partner sports departments. This goes to the heart of the sports retailer’s philosophy.
“It’s not just a one-of-a-kind program for brand and industry, it goes much further by opening up opportunities in business and life that will allow them as student-athletes to maximize their NIL. , opening the doors to future possibilities,” said Adidas NCAA program manager Jim Murphy.
Adidas also continues to invest in partnership programs and campaigns that partner with notable partner athletes like Candace Parker, Billie Jean King and many others who work tirelessly to drive the game forward.
“It’s been 50 long years since Title IX passed – and we’ve fought and played for equality every step of the way,” King said. “The progress we’ve made is incredible, but it’s time to focus on the next 50 years.
“More Is Possible” shirts are available to retail for $25 at local college retailers, Fanatics and online.