Southern strikes deal with adidas apparel

It’s a common practice at Division I universities.

Now, Missouri Southern has joined the party, and will show up wearing adidas.

The University has reached a three-year agreement with adidas USA, making the company Southern’s sole provider for apparel in the athletics department.

“It’s a really good thing, certainly for Missouri Southern athletics and for our student athletes and our boosters and fans,” Athletics Director Jared Bruggeman said.

Southern will transition to adidas products over a two-year period, replacing uniforms and apparel as they wear out. The agreement will have University athletes wearing everything from adidas uniforms to socks and shoes, and department employees and Lionbackers wearing adidas clothing at official functions.

“We’re one of the few in the MIAA with a deal like this,” Bruggeman said. “Some schools wear certain product lines but I’m not sure if they have the same arrangement. This is very common in Division I, and I don’t know of very many schools that are not one product or another.”

Bruggeman said Southern’s agreement is comparable to that of a mid-major school.

“Having come from a mid-major type of school and gone through this process a couple of different times, it’s a pretty good arrangement,” he said.

Touting the cost-savings benefits of the deal, Bruggeman said more Division II schools will probably start moving in the same direction, and he added that companies will realize there is still money to be generated through agreements with smaller schools.

The savings may not be noticeable at first, though, according to Bruggeman.

“Initially it’s probably not going to save us much at all because we’re going to be putting the money we do save back into the project to convert us over so initial cost savings will be minimal, if at all,” he said. “What it will come out the other side is we will have new product. Beyond that, once we transition over how much is the savings going to be? That’s a tough call.

“You save based on your spending so as long as you’re buying what you normally would buy then you’re saving maybe 20 or 30 percent, but if you’re putting the money back into the program, again, you wouldn’t see the cost savings.”

Nill Brothers Sports, a Kansas City company, will serve as the vendor for the agreement. In the past Southern has used multiple vendors.

“Service was our number-one criteria,” Bruggeman said. “Working with different vendors, it’s hard to keep track of all those different groups. If you have one vendor and you have several contacts maybe with that one vendor then it’s easier to track and a more consistent look amongst our teams and boosters.”