JONESBORO, Ark. -- Arkansas State's leading returning scorer is sitting out because he refuses to wear adidas shoes, which Indians players are obligated to wear because of a school contract.
Jerry Nichols, a 6-6 outside shooter who averaged 9.6 points per game last year, has had two knee operations and said he was wearing adidas shoes when he first hurt the knee. The school says Nichols has to dress by its rules.
"We have a contractual agreement with [adidas], and it's not
any different than any number of other contracts with other
schools. There is not any stipulation or any research that shows
any shoes are worse than any others," Arkansas State athletic
director Dean Lee told The Jonesboro Sun newspaper.
Nichols, who last year shot 41.8 percent from 3-point range, practiced over the weekend while wearing Nike shoes, placing tape to cover the brand's insignia. Nichols met with Lee on Monday, and
Nichols was told to wear adidas shoes or sit. Nichols sat.
"We've been producing outstanding quality equipment for years," said Terrell Clark, an adidas spokesman. "We take this very seriously and we are looking to handle this in a positive manner."
Nichols said he was wearing adidas shoes when he suffered a knee
injury in 2001 while playing for Walters State Community College.
"I tore my ACL in adidas in junior college back in 2001, and
I'm not comfortable wearing adidas," Nichols said.
Nichols has had two surgeries on his right knee, including one
in late March following last season. ASU's basketball team wore
Nike shoes last year but that contract has expired.
"Adidas shoes are part of our uniform," Lee said.
Lee said there is no room for compromise and that the school is
obligated to put adidas shoes on the feet of athletes football,
men's and women's basketball, baseball and track teams, along with
several other sports.
"This is not picking on any one student athlete. This goes for
all student athletes that are under that contract," Lee said.
Nichols said he may seek relief in court if the university does
not change policy.
"If I have to miss this whole senior season for some shoes, why
wouldn't I [sue]?" Nichols said. "I have done too much this
summer, working out, staying up here all summer to waste a year. So if it has to come to a legal issue then I will."
ASU coach Dickey Nutt said he wants Nichols on the court,
considering the team has its first exhibition in less than three
"I need all my players to be at practice, but it's out of my
hands. That matter is in the administration's hands, so I'm just
referring all questions to them," Nutt said.