The University of Louisiana at Lafayette announced a multi year agreement for Portland, Oregon, based Adidas to serve as official apparel, athletic footwear and accessory brand of the Ragin’ Cajuns.
The partnership is for three years starting July 1 and includes two mutual one year options.
More than the money,cheap jerseys though, what had many abuzz Wednesday were the football outfits adorning two mannequins for a news conference at the Edith Garland Dupre Library on UL’s campus.
Instant social media feedback was less than enthusiastic, with self appointed fashion critics panning the uniforms’ plainness and the fact “RAGIN’ CAJUNS” was across the front, not “LOUISIANA.”
The school is embroiled in a name controversy, and in an effort to shed the Lafayette designation for its sports teams recently splashed “LOUISIANA” on its team’s uniforms.
UL reps were quick to say after the event that the displayed football uniforms were merely mockups, however.
“Those aren’t the final product,” athletic director Scott Farmer said.
Farmer said Wednesday night that one set of new UL football uniforms “says Louisiana” and “the other says Ragin’ Cajuns.”
Football coach Mark Hudspeth said “we’ll have a lot of different uniform combinations,” and later tweeted that “LOUISIANA will be big part of uni!!”
UL teams previously wore gear from multiple apparel companies, including football jerseys by Russell and Nike cleats.
Now, Hudspeth said, “We’ll be top to bottom (Adidas), instead of a mismatch.”
UL women’s soccer coach Scot Wieland said wearing “Adidas bling” brings a “wow factor.”
Having a big name uniform supplier is important to his players, suggested Hudspeth, who also believes it will help attract future student athletes.
“It’s really gonna add just another notch in a our belt as we go our and sell our university in recruiting,” he said.
Like rival Nike, Adidas is a major player in American sports and worldwide.
It dresses more than 70 college programs, including Michigan, Texas A Nebraska, Tennessee and UCLA.
“Kids want to look good,” Hudspeth said. “Everybody’s always trying to look sharper than the other one.”
Beyond the $250,000 annual base, Adidas also will pay UL undisclosed amounts for reaching certain incentives, including but not limited to conference Coach of the Year awards for various sports; football bowl appearances; and NCAA postseason appearances for basketball, baseball and softball.
Farmer said UL’s new deal is “a little bit higher” than those of fellow Sun Belt Conference member schools.
It’s far, however, from the five year, $40 million agreement ESPN recently reported was signed by Louisville and Adidas, which placed its men’s and women’s basketball teams in the 2013 title games.