University of Florida football coach Will Muschamp and his coaches were forced to return their stock of Nike game apparel because the items didn’t have enough swoosh logos, a source confirmed to
The same demand was apparently made at several other big-time college football programs including Alabama, as first reported by Paul Lukas of Uni-Watch.com.
A source confirmed to Business Insider that the University of North Carolina football team was also forced to return its Nike apparel and there is evidence that it happened at several other schools.
Nike was concerned that its swoosh logo would not be visible on the polos, windbreakers, and jackets during television broadcasts because the items originally just had swooshes on the sleeves.
Nike, who will pay the University of Florida $US1.8 million this year and also provides $US2.1 million worth of equipment to promote the brand, added swoosh logos to the front of the items and then returned them to the team.
While the Gators’ apparel was fixed prior to their first game, the UNC staff was not asked to return the items until after their first game against South Carolina. During that game, Tar Heels head coach Larry Fedora wore a polo with only a swoosh logo on the left sleeve.
The same situation appeared to have happened with defending champions Alabama. According to a source for Lukas, they were asked to return their Nike apparel, but not until after they played their first game against Virginia Tech. Like Fedora, Nick Saban’s polo had a swoosh on the sleeve and not the chest.
USC head coach Lane Kiffin was also wearing a polo without a chest logo during his team’s first game in Hawaii. It seems safe to say he will be wearing a polo with a chest logo when the Trojans play on Saturday night.
However, the move did not impact all schools contracted to wear Nike apparel. Virginia Tech was not asked to return anything according to a source with the school. Head coach Frank Beamer and his staff’s apparel already had logos on the chest.
It is unclear how many teams were impacted by this move. Nike did not return a call seeking comment. But the seemingly panic-driven demand shows just how important logo placement is and how tight Nike’s grip is in the world of college sports.
While fans continue to debate whether or not Johnny Manziel should be paid a few thousand dollars to sign autographs, Nike can make a few phone calls and force schools to return hundreds of items just because they want to maximise the visibility of their brand and justify the multi-million dollar deals with the schools.
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