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Rutgers Athletic Finances: Nike's winged helmet in Ann Arbor...and the crumbs in Piscataway

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Rutgers uniforms have the swoosh. So will Michigan's beginning next July. But that's where the similarity ends.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

When you look up Nike on Google, the first dozen entries have to do with a shoe company.  When you amend your search, you can finally find that Nike was, in ancient Greek religion, a goddess who personified victory, also known as the Winged Goddess of Victory.  And it really is appropriate that she is winged.

Those wings on the helmets of Michigan's football team became a little more golden than maize as the university and Nike announced an apparel deal worth almost $170 million, the richest in college sports.

By comparison, the five-year deal that Rutgers has with Nike - obtained through an Open Public Records request - is worth a little less than $6 million.  I'll do the math for you as you sit there stunned:  Michigan will be garnering about $164 million more than Rutgers in the apparel department.  $164 million from Nike alone.  That's more than two years of the total athletic budget for Rutgers.

Rutgers' contract with Nike went into effect on July 1, 2012 and runs through June 30, 2017.  Over the course of the contract, Rutgers will earn a base payment of $130,000 per year.  Yes, you read that correctly.  I did not leave off any zeroes.  And that is the same payment in each of the five years, a total of $650,000.

source: Rutgers University - Nike All Sport Agreement

In addition, Rutgers agrees that Nike will be its sole provider of "authentic competition apparel".  For that, Rutgers will be able to order products from Nike.  About $1 million each year of the contract.  As a comparison, Rutgers spent some $1.53 million on equipment in 2013-14, the most recent year from which data is available.

source: Rutgers University - Nike All Sport Agreement

Now, I think we all understand that Michigan is a more prominent and visible product than Rutgers (for now).  And they certainly deserve - and have earned - the right to make more.  But those numbers are just silly.  Michigan's rights and licensing - going beyond their current Adidas deal - in 2013-14 brought in $55.6 million.  Rutgers was $18.8 million.

The details of the Wolverines' current contract show how much power they have and, in turn, how little Rutgers has.  Look back at those Rutgers numbers for cash payout and apparel.  Under its expiring agreement with Adidas, Michigan was getting $4.4 million in equipment (to Rutgers $1 M) and $3.8 million in cash compared to....no, I can't.  It's just too embarrassing.

One would think that being in the Big Ten - which the current contract recognizes was going to happen - would be worth something to Rutgers.  And hopefully, in the next round of negotiations for the 2017-and beyond contract, the numbers will go up.  A lot.

Some more details to chew on

The Portland Business Journal has been following the trend in apparel contracts for several years.  They updated their interactive database for 2014-15.  Not every school responded to their request for information, but nine schools in the Big Ten did.  And while not everyone is Michigan or Ohio State, Rutgers still comes up pretty short.

Source: Portland Business Journal

And let's go one step further

Rutgers is not listed in the Portland Business Journal's database.  But some former conference mates are, and the comparison is startling....as well as sad.  Look at Cincinnati's contract with Adidas and UConn's with Nike:

Both are making more than Rutgers in total value.  The UConn agreement also stipulated:

Upon executive [sic] of the deal in 2008, Nike gave the university $1 million towards a new basketball arena. (page 9)

Want to know how to raise money for facilities?  Of course, the Huskies have a few national titles in hoops to throw around as bait for more money. But by the end of the contract in 2018, UConn will be making 10 times what Rutgers is now in cash payout. Ten times. Once more to make sure we all got that: ten times.

Maybe we should re-open negotiations as a Big Ten member.

A little of this, a little of that....

....for those looking for instant changes to uniforms, there are - in the contract - some time restrictions.  Nike can offer suggested changes at least two months prior to ordering deadlines...which the contract states are about 9-12 months ahead of each season. That being said, could there be changes?  Hey, if you don't ask.....

....there are promotional requirements for appearances by Flood, Jordan, Stringer, Donigan (MSoc), and other coaches as requested

....Stringer, Donigan, and Mike Rice a former coach each had prior individual deals with Nike

....Nike will receive tickets and parking passes for football and both basketball programs, as well as other "ticketed" events

....if Jordan wins the Big Ten Tournament, Rutgers gets an additional $10,000; if Stringer wins, it's worth $5,000

--.-the golf teams can use any manufacturer's clubs or balls; but not bags and other equipment

....Nike will pay Rutgers a 10% royalty on branded licensed merchandise sold through other retail outlets

And the neighbors up the road

A lot has been written lately about NJIT and its move to D1 sports.  The Highlanders took another step forward in that area when they signed an apparel contract with Adidas, although the dollar amount was not revealed in the story.  To that, I offer this: