Let the Kid Wear His Dad’s Shoes

Greed and college athletics: talk about two concepts I never thought would collide!

And yet:

ORLANDO, Fla. — A fight over the shoes Michael Jordan’s son will wear at the University of Central Florida has cost the school any future sponsorship with adidas.

“The University of Central Florida has chosen not to deliver on their contractual commitment to adidas,” adidas spokeswoman Andrea Corso wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press. “As a result we have chosen not to continue our relationship with them moving forward.”

Freshman guard Marcus Jordan wore a pair of white Air Jordans during UCF’s 84-65 win in an exhibition game against Saint Leo on Wednesday night, the Orlando Sentinel reported on its Web site. Jordan has said he will only wear his father’s Nike Air Jordan shoes because they hold special meaning to his family.

UCF is in the final year of a five-year contract with adidas that requires coaches and athletes to use the company’s apparel and equipment.

“We are disappointed to learn that adidas has chosen to discontinue its relationship with UCF Athletics,” the school said in a statement Wednesday night released by spokesman Joe Hornstein. “Once we receive official notice we will be able to further respond.”

Marcus Jordan is a college student, right? I mean, yes, he has an athletic scholarship, and yes, he is on the basketball team. But he’s a student. He can’t receive any money for anything he wears. What does any of this have to do with him?

Yes, I know—his team has (or had) an established contractual relationship with adidas. Still though, as normal as it is for schools to have these sorts of deals in place, I can’t help but find it odd that amateur-level players who aren’t allowed to make money related to their athletic gifts are told what shoes they have to wear.

Jesse Singal

Jesse Singal is a former opinion writer for The Boston Globe and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. He is currently a master's student at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Policy. Follow him on Twitter at @jessesingal.