UPDATE, 1:20 p.m.: Wisconsin has announced a press conference for a "major announcement" Friday at 1 p.m. Barry Alvarez will be present, although no further details were given.
Those rumblings of Wisconsin jumping ship to a new athletics outfitter will get a lot more interesting come Thursday.
When the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents meets for the first of a two-day session starting on Thursday, its Business and Finance committee is expected to begin discussions regarding a proposed sponsorship agreement with retail giant Under Armour -- with the recommendation the Board accept the 10-year arrangement.
ESPN's Darren Rovell first reported the discussions would take place earlier on Wednesday, with the review by the committee and expected vote of the agreement by the full board confirmed via the meeting materials posted on the University of Wisconsin System website.
The deal would go into effect after June 30, 2016, when the current agreement between Wisconsin and Adidas expires. According to the agenda and meeting materials:
The scope of the current Sponsorship Agreement with Adidas is comparable to the proposed Agreement with Under Armour, Inc. except that the proposed Agreement with Under Armour includes significant increases in cash contributions and product allotment over the life of the contract term.
And quite the bump it would be. Among some of those "significant increases:"
An "annual product allotment of Under Armour shoes, apparel and equipment at no cost" to Wisconsin and its 23 intercollegiate teams. Wisconsin would receive $3.3 million in product its first year with Under Armour "to account for the increased product needs associated with a change in Sponsors." Starting with the second year under contract, UW would receive $2.45 million in product -- progressing upward to $3.05 million in the tenth year. For the final year of the contract with Adidas, UW would receive $1.375 million. UW "would receive an annual amount of cash compensation from Under Armour to provide income to Athletics. In addition, UW-Madison would be eligible to receive annual bonus compensation based on the overall performance of the university's athletic teams. The amount of annual cash compensation made under the existing contract with Adidas varied from $750,000 in the first two years of the term to $800,000 in the last three years. Under the proposed Agreement with Under Armour, Athletics would receive an annual cash contribution of $4 million." Wisconsin receives "an annual guaranteed minimum licensing royalty from Under Armour." UA would pay $450,000 per year. Under the current agreement, Adidas pays UW $100,000 annually.
Under Armour would also hire two university students per contract year to participate in Under Armour's Summer Rookie internship program, along with acknowledging "its plan of action with respect to human rights issues and allow UW-Madison access to archives and contemporary inspection and monitoring reports for all facilities producing goods for the university."
In exchange, the retail giant would receive the following:
Under Armour would become the exclusive supplier of accessories, apparel, equipment and footwear to UW-Madison's 23 intercollegiate athletic teams and their coaches. Under Armour would acquire the exclusive right to sell all authentic competition apparel worn by intercollegiate teams and coaches, all replica versions of authentic uniforms, and all performance products. Under Armour would receive the exclusive right to the official designation of "Official Outfitter of University of Wisconsin-Madison Athletics," as well as the "Official Outfitter" of the Teams. In addition, UW-Madison would provide other promotional opportunities and privileges including tickets, parking passes, signage, electronic scoreboard messaging, public address announcements, and website and social media recognition.
Wisconsin has maintained a relationship with Adidas via sponsorship agreement since August 2001. The official documents noted the proposed agreement with Under Armour came from a "comprehensive" bid process between UW-Madison (including multiple branches within the university system) and "several shoe and apparel companies."
That led to Wisconsin and Under Armour agreeing on a deal for the Regents to now review and approve, with the vote scheduled in the next couple of days.