Hackett on UM apparel deal: 'Look for an answer soon'

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News
Michigan's current apparel deal is with adidas but Jim Haackett is considering pitches from Nike and Under Armour.

Michigan interim athletic director Jim Hackett said he wants plans to hold to a self-imposed deadline of July 1 to determine which apparel manufacturer the athletic department will sign with.

"Look for an answer soon," Hackett said after he addressed the Regents regarding the athletic department budget.

Two weeks ago, Hackett said he wanted a decision by July 1. He said Thursday that remains a fair deadline, but also suggested he has some wiggle room.

Michigan's contract with adidas, signed in 2007 and worth $8.2 million annually ($4.4 million in apparel, $3.8 million in cash) expires at the end of July 2016. Hackett has proposals from adidas, Nike and Under Armour.

"I'm not going to hold literally to that (date) because I want to make sure we get some of the best terms and details worked out so I'm just beginning to talk now to the manufacturers about the last-minute pieces of this," Hackett said. "The way the process works, you kind of invest in final land right now."

As expected, Hackett did not make any public comment to the Regents regarding the work he and his 10-person team have done regarding the apparel contract. He said he has had informal discussions with the Regents, and in his words, has them "up to speed" on where he stands with regard to evaluating the proposals.

Regent Mark Bernstein said Hackett has kept the Regents informed and likes his approach.

"I think everybody is pleased with the process and how it's unfolding and trust Jim to get a deal that is in the best interest of the university," Bernstein said.

Bernstein said Hackett does not have to seek the approval of the Regents for the apparel contract. But he did smile and answer in the affirmative when asked if he has a sense of which way Hackett is leaning.

In these final weeks before his goal of making a decision, there are last-minute details to finalize with the manufacturers, but Hackett said he has a handle on the evaluations.

"I would say I own the process from the assessment, the determination, the plan to implement, which is once we decide what we're going to do we're going to have all that thought out at the time we announce," Hackett said. "It's a complete series of gates that we've got to go through, and that includes discussions with all of them."

After the meeting Thursday, the Regents met Hackett at Schembechler Hall for a tour and visited with coach Jim Harbaugh.