Updates at 5:55 p.m. with full story:
N.C. A&T is officially a Nike school, and all Aggies teams will be outfitted head-to-toe in gear made by the sports giant with the swoosh logo.
The MEAC and Nike agreed to a five-year deal announced this week to make the Oregon-based company the league’s official apparel, accessory and equipment brand though 2020.
The 13-school league already had a Nike shoe deal in place since 2005. The new deal begins Sept. 1 and affects 10 schools: A&T, N.C. Central, Bethune-Cookman, Coppin State, Delaware State, Florida A&M, Md.-Eastern Shore, Norfolk State, Savannah State and South Carolina State.
A&T will replace its Russell Athletic uniforms with Nike gear in all 14 of its men’s and women’s varsity sports.
The Nike deal brings both name recognition and financial benefits, said Earl Hilton, A&T’s athletics director.
“From a budgetary perspective, it’s obviously exciting for the whole conference,” Hilton said.
“The good news is very good. I haven’t seen the actual contract; that’s done through the conference. But we’re looking at $100,000 in product annually, and then deep discounts after that $100,000. Depending on what you’re buying — whether it’s shoes or socks or uniforms or workout gear — you’re going to get a 35 to 50 percent discount. I’m guessing a little bit on that, but those are the numbers I’ve heard thrown around.”
So can Aggies fans expect some garish, off-the-wall uniforms, similar to those worn by Nike flagship Oregon?
Hilton laughed hard before answering.
“No,” he said. “No, I don’t think we’re going to go quite that far. I’m not sure the coaches would want to think that far outside the box.”
Even so, there likely will be new uniform concepts for the Aggies teams.
“The uniforms have been designed by the coaches and our equipment managers. People from university relations have a lot of input,” Hilton said. “I do suspect we’ll see some different uniform schemes. I’m excited to see those. You might see some changes in color schemes, but obviously not to our core blue and gold. We might have some different looks.”
The Nike deal also includes the MEAC league office staff, and the company will provide summer internships to deserving MEAC athletes at its headquarters in Beaverton, Ore.
Nike will also fund two scholarships annually for MEAC athletes attending graduate school.
GREENSBORO — The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference has signed a multiyear deal with Nike, and the sports giant will supply apparel, uniforms, shoes and gear to all sports teams from 10 of the league’s member schools, including N.C. A&T.
It’s a switch for the Aggies, who wore Russell Athletic football uniforms last season.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but A&T’s Earl Hilton says the Aggies get $100,000 in Nike stuff, plus deep discounts on other items.
More details will be available later this afternoon.