Allen Brettman of the PORTLAND OREGONIAN has a Q & A with billionaire University of Oregon benefactor - and Nike founder - Phil Knight this week.
(Call him Coach Knight)
In the piece, Knight essentially confirms that he has access to the feed of Oregon football coaches on their headseats during games.
Q: True or not. There’s a headset in your suite at Autzen so you can listen to the play calling.
A: If it was true I couldn’t say, huh?
Q: Why, is it illegal?
A: No. I just wouldn’t want to talk about it … if it was true.
This isn’t the first time the subject has come up. Read more…
Today the University of Oregon unveiled plans for a new, six-story building that will serve exclusively as the headquarters for the school’s football program.
(Wait, isn’t this where they invented the iPod?)
The building, which reportedly will cost $41 million, will be donated by Phil Knight after construction of the project is completed. The facility includes:
- Nine dedicated football position meeting rooms
- Two team video theaters Offense and defense strategy rooms
- Larger conference suite for the entire coaching staff.
- Players’ lounge
- Recruiting center to host prospective student-athletes
- Dedicated areas to accommodate professional scouts
- Media interview room
- Advanced video editing and distribution center
- State of the art laptop serial number removal soldering station
Okay, I made the last one up.
The entire project will be privately funded through the philanthropy of Phil and Penny Knight and will include no use of public, state or general university fund dollars. Construction is expected to get underway after the first of the year, with the anticipated completion targeted for the summer of 2013.
My favorite part of the Oregon press release about the new football facility is the mention of the new lacrosse stadium that will also be constructed as part of the project. Read more…
Before the Huskies took on the Oregon Ducks at Autzen Stadium on Saturday in Eugene, Washington Athletic Director Scott Woodward appeared on the University of Washington football pregame radio show.
While speaking to hosts Dave “Softy” Mahler and Hugh Millen - and a statewide radio audience via KJR-AM in Seattle - Woodward called Oregon an “embarrassment” after Mahler asked him about the school’s athletic facilities and football success.
Along with the audio of his remarks, I’ve transcribed of some of Woodward’s comments below:
Mahler to Woodward: “What do you make of this place? When you come down here, you see the new baseball field, you see the brand new turf, you see the atmosphere. And don’t know if motivation is the word but obviously this is kind of where Washington wants to be, ranked #1 in the country and have all eyes on them.”
Woodward: “Sure, it’s not really where we want to be Softy (Mahler’s nickname), because it’s an embarrassment what their academic institution is, and what’s happened to them as far as their state funding has gone. In my mind it’s a wonderful athletic facility but they’ve watched it at the expense of the university go really down.
“The athletic facility is impressive. The fans at Oregon should get down on their hands and knees at night to Phil Knight and pray to him because this is an incredible facility he’s built.” Read more…
In the past two months, David Jones of the HARRISBURG PATRIOT-NEWS has chronicled the rumblings at was has become the shaky base of Mount Paterno.
Before the season, Jones wrote that Joe Paterno’s declining health could be an indication that his “intellect seemed a little dulled and delayed.” After the Lions were thrashed at home by also-ran Illinois last Saturday, Jones warned, “Penn State football fans should prepare for a return to the Dark Ages.”
That was bad enough for Black Shoe devotees, but this week Jones went and did the unthinkable.
Jones not only suggested the Lions change up their iconic uniforms, he revealed the look that Nike had earlier proposed to the Paterno - and was subsequently (and predictably) eschewed.
Today against Portland State, the Oregon Ducks football team broke out a new look - again - with exotic, new football helmets.
(Added bonus: Matches Oregon’s seemingly perpetual gloomy skies)
The helmet shell, developed by Nike, reportedly is “carbon-dipped” and was first tested by Ducks players during training camp last month in Eugene.
(Their new unis weigh a mere 5.5 ounces.)
Under the watchful eye of Oregon alum and Nike founder Phil Knight, the Ducks are well-known for their groundbreaking uniforms designs, which change every week. Read more…
UPDATE (3:35p ET): The Mac-centric site CultofMac.com reported last Thursday that Phil Knight gave 550 laptops at a cost of $1M to Oregon athletes that were specially engraved to prevent theft.
Engraver Joe Mansfield:
The 550 laptops were gifted to the University of Oregon by Nike (Phil Knight).
I pitched the idea of branding the laptops with laser engraving both for aesthetic and security reasons. The laptops have a unique identifier number engraved on the underside for inventory purposes.
Mind-boggling irony given what UO athletes Masoli and Embry stand accused of today.
Lindsay Schnell of the PORTLAND OREGONIAN confirms this afternoon that University of Oregon starting quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, who has served jail time in the past for admitted armed robberies, has been accused of theft in a Univ. of Oregon fraternity house:
The Eugene Police Department confirmed this morning that its officers are investigating an alleged theft, and the student who filed the report has told The Oregonian that the men he accuses in it are University of Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli and wide receiver Garrett Embry.
Fraternity member Max Wolfard filed a police report alleging that the players took two MacBook Pro computers valued at $2,000 apiece and a $900 guitar from the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house at 812 E. 14th Ave. in Eugene early Sunday.
Wolfard was quoted by the Oregonian about the incident.
Tripp Mickle of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL has the first comments today from Nike Chairman and co-founder Phil Knight about the company’s continuing business relationship with Tiger Woods.
(Woods mother Tida and Nike co-Founder Phil Knight)
Mickle: You look at someone like Tiger Woods and this episode of infidelity. Does this change the concept of building brands around athletes?
Knight: Not for us. It’s part of the game.
Mickle: With Tiger, a person who was believed to be of more upstanding character beforehand, is it possible to check for everything?
Knight: Obviously, he was one we checked out and he came out clean, and I think he’s been really great. When his career is over, you’ll look back on these indiscretions as a minor blip, but the media is making a big deal out of it right now.
Thanks to media reports now confirmed by Woods, the greatest golfer of all time has quit his sport, his personal life is a shambles and his major sponsors, besides Nike, are abandoning him.
That’s a “minor blip“? Read more…
It’s hard enough out there for the regular folk to get and hold jobs these days, much less your elite athlete. So what’s a fellow to do when his NBA aspirations lasted all of 15 games for the Boston Celtics a dozen years ago but there’s still bills to pay and dreams to be achieved?
(PHIL SEZ COUNTERFITZ IS STEELINZ AND STEELINZ IS WRONG)
It’s hard to say for sure, but you can now cross this one off the list: open up a mall store to sell counterfeit Nike shoes and store your ten pounds of marijuana (which is quite real).
In many ways, the world of sports has been somewhat shielded from the massive economic meltdown affecting the rest of the world. Sure, the Yankees are having trouble getting people to the ballpark, but with an average ticket price of $230 and a sub-.500 record, those seats would be a tough sell in the best of times.
(No, it’s not.)
Other tough sells in a down economy are things like $250 basketball shoes and $100-plus basketball jerseys. That, however, is what Nike has continued to foist on the world’s sports fans despite the worst recession in generations. Today, this flawed business plan has come back to bite Nike in the rear of their overpriced athletics short as the sporting goods giant announced massive layoffs. Just do it, indeed.
Darren Rovell has an hour-long primetime special on CNBC tonight about all things Nike.
The good news for Rovell: For the documentary-style production, Rovell got to interview a sunglassed Phil Knight, Michael Jordan, Lebron James, Tiger Woods, and Charles Barkley.
The bad news for Rovell: He spent a considerable amount of time examining Nike’s business practices in Vietnam, where the company is the country’s single largest employer (we’re guessing Rovell next spent a considerable amount of time being examined by his friendly gastroenterologist after enduring local fare). Read more…