Shoe company Skechers files lawsuit against Adidas in wake of FBI college basketball investigation
Skechers is re-defining the term “sneaker wars.”
In a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in California against Adidas on Wednesday, the sneaker company claims it was put at an unfair disadvantage as a result of corruption schemes uncovered by the FBI’s probe into corruption within college basketball related to Adidas.
The lawsuit, which was obtained by CBS Sports, claims that “illicit payments denied competitors like Skechers who play by the rules a fair opportunity to compete for the cachet of having trend-setting high-school and college athletes seen in their products.” Skechers also claims Adidas “effectively blocked Skechers and other companies from competing on a level playing field for young, NBA-level endorsers, and unfairly bolstered consumer perceptions of adidas’s overall brand quality and image well beyond the basketball footwear market.”
The claims come in light of an FBI investigation that, last fall, determined that Adidas employees were allegedly conspiring to funnel money to high school basketball players families in return for their endorsement with the company upon their turn to the professional ranks. Since the discovery, numerous programs have become ensnared in the scandal, including NC State and Kansas, most recently.
Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino, who was implicated in the probe for his alleged involvement in assisting the funneling of money to a five-star recruit, was fired from his post at Louisville as part of the ongoing scandal.
Skechers is seeking “recovery of adidas’s ill-gotten profits, damages for lost sales and diminished brand value and increased advertising and marketing costs, and an injunction preventing adidas from making further illegal, undisclosed endorsement payment to amateur basketball players” as part of the lawsuit.