All that clothing and merchandise the Canes and their fans wear?
Adorned with the Nike swoosh.
But perhaps, not for much longer.
Spoke Tuesday night to allCanes general manager Harry Rothwell, who basically asked UM Hurricanes fans on Saturday via Twitter to let him know which sideline provider of clothing/equipment/shoes they prefer: Nike, Under Armour or Adidas.
Rothwell should know. His retail store sells Nike, Nike and more Nike because that's the company contracted with the Hurricanes.
The answer to Rothwell's tweet overwhelmingly was Nike. "Nike, Nike, Nike,'' he said. "It goes back to recruiting, to shoes, to image, to people thinking Nike is the better brand.''
But now, the Hurricanes could be saying bye-bye to Nike.
Two undisclosed companies, believed to be Under Armour and Adidas, have made bids to be the Hurricanes' sideline provider of all Hurricanes' clothes/merchandise/shoes/equipment, etc.
"Nike is our partner and has been a very good partner of this program,'' said UM athletic director Blake James on Wednesday. "With that said, our contract with Nike is set to expire in August of 2015 and Nike extended an opportunity for us to renew for another 10 years.
"However, I decided it was in our best interest to test the market and determine our value moving forward."
James said "there has been no date determined'' as to when UM will decide which company to go with, "because right now we are in agreement with Nike.''
Added James: "There will not be an announcement before the bowl game.''
"I have orders pending with Nike through the fall of 2015,'' Rothwell said. "But that merchandise could disappear with a delete button if they're not licensed with MIami anymore.
"There would be new jerseys, new polos, new hats, new shoes -- everything.''
Rothwell said his Nike rep told him that Nike might not match the other offers.
On Wednesday, in fact, another school -- Arizona State -- announced that it signed a contract with Adidas through 2022-23. "The eight-year contract, which starts in July 2015, is worth $33.8 million or $4,225,000 annually,'' reported the Arizona Republic. "That amount is double what ASU is receiving in equipment and cash for 2014-15 from Nike, and it is among the top 10 nationally per data compiled by the Portland Business Journal.''
UM is a private school and does not disclose its financial dealings.
The Hurricanes just switched to their new football uniforms this season. The jerseys have been popular among fans, and the uniforms well liked by the players.
"It really comes back to it being a bidding war,'' Rothwell said. "It's no different from Coke bidding with Pepsi to take over concessions in a stadium or school. The highest bidder is probably going to win out.''
Rothwell said he's concerned "that losing a great partner like Nike would affect our retail sales, but we have no choice. We have to hope that whoever gets the contract will make merchandise that the teams and fans will like.
"I've been a Nike fan for a long time, but it's not to say that whoever comes in won't do better.
"These are all billion dollar companies with big egos that are all trying to get as many schools as they can.''
Adidas lost its Notre Dame partnership in the past year. The Fighting Irish now have a 10-year contract with Under Armour worth $90 million in cash and merchandise.
Rothwell said he has heard from sales reps from both Adidas and Under Armour that they're going after the UM contract. One rep told him Adidas was going after Arizona State and MIami, so the Arizona State part obviously has come to fruition.
The answer is in NIke's -- and UM's -- hands.
Canes fans, what's your preference and why?
Do you prefer Nike, Under Armour or Adidas -- and why?
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN