By Anthony Lopopolo
Ryerson has teamed up with Adidas on a trial basis as the Rams begin to refine the school’s athletic image. It’s the school’s first serious venture with a top-tier sporting brand and a clear attempt to bulk up athletics.
After calling for proposals from outlets like Nike and Russell, Adidas prevailed with the best prices and incentives for Ryerson’s student-athletes.
Although there is no stringent deal in place, scholarships would also be available as a result of that affiliation.
Outstanding details still need to be ironed out, but the Rams will continue to bear the Adidas logo on their jerseys until a decision is made in February.
“We were looking at going through our re-branding [process] and we didn’t know what our colours were going to be, what our logos were like,” said athletic director Ivan Joseph.
“We weren’t ready to really sign the deal because if you’re going to buy all new uniforms, you want to do it all at once so that we get the best bet.”
Not all Adidas merchandise is applicable to Ryerson’s athletic makeup, which poses difficulties for sports under which the brand doesn’t serve.
That prospect has made Joseph hesitant to run with a sole clothing provider. He fears offering only one brand of equipment could handcuff teams to a product they may not find comfortable.
“I know the women’s volleyball team tried the Adidas volleyball shoes. They didn’t quite work, they’re not the same,” he said. “In that case then, we’re not going to make you play in the sub-standard … we would work out certain exceptions to the contract with Adidas.”
For Meagan Blodgett, the captain of the women’s soccer team, the new jerseys have been a blessing.
“I like them better than the older ones, much more comfortable and light. There aren’t any problems with fitting, considering the other [jerseys] were stiff.”
But all this groundwork is well overdue, Joseph admitted. Teams from York, Nippissing and Queen’s have already signed on to Adidas, with Ryerson straggling behind.
“We’re late to get on the ball park. Now, instead of comparing the haves to the have-nots, we’re now starting to close that gap.”
Adidas Canada declined to comment on any aspects of the pending deal. The Rams former jerseys will be sent to organizations in third-world countries.