By Senior Correspondent Desirée Taylor
Rutgers University has ended its standard licensing agreement with Adidas. Rutgers President Robert Barchi made this decision after a student group called Rutgers United Students Against Sweatshops staged protests and requested a meeting with Barchi. Rutgers student activist Kate Thomas explained why. “Adidas had factories in the PT Zone of Indonesia. It was shut down and the workers were laid off,” she said. “There was severance owed to the workers. Adidas owes their share and they haven’t paid a cent.”
Adidas issued the following statement: “We honored all terms of our contract, paying the factory owners every penny owed for the business we did. In turn, we cannot assume the liability for the severance owed by the former owner of PT Kizone who violated Indonesian law and fled.”
This was a relatively small contract. Rutgers received just under $11,000 in fiscal year 2012 under the standard licensing agreement. But if you consider the money Adidas will lose from not being able to sell Rutgers merchandise, as well as the merchandise of several other universities that have cut ties with the athletic apparel company, students believe the financial impact could be significant. Especially since Rutgers has agreed to join the Big 10 Conference.
“Rutgers advertising will go through the roof and Adidas won’t be able to use the Rutgers logo,” said Anna Barcy, an organizer of Rutgers United Students Against Sweatshops. “So they won’t make any money from the advertising boom.”
Several other New Jersey universities that have licensing agreements with Adidas say they’re looking into the allegations against the company.