To celebrate the 50th year of Title IX, adidas announced a series of brand initiatives and commitments aimed at creating a more equitable and inclusive future of sport.
Commencing with the signing of 15 female student-athletes to name, image, and likeness (NIL) deals across seven collegiate sports, the brand is further underscoring its commitment to women and LGBTQI+ athletes in sport through an expanded partnership with Athlete Ally to grow chapter footprints on college campuses.
In addition, adidas is partnering with Candace Parker to create a mentorship program that provides newly signed student-athletes with guidance as they navigate the NIL era.
The following student-athletes have been announced as adidas partners:
Maddy Anderson – Mississippi St., soccer
Emily Mason – Rutgers, soccer
Brianna Copeland – Indiana, softball
Erin Moss – Georgia Tech, volleyball
Lauren Dooley – Kansas, volleyball
Moriah Oliveira – Miami, track & field
Kinsey Fiedler – Washington, softball
Gianna Pielet – Texas A&M, tennis
Jayci “Jay” Goldsmith – Texas A&M, tennis
Izzy Redmond – ASU, gymnastics
Nicklin Hames – Nebraska, volleyball
Jaiden Thomas – NC State, soccer
Jameese Joseph – NC State, soccer
Hailey Van Lith – Louisville, basketball
India Wells – Grambling State, softball
“As a leading global sports brand, we’re focused on creating long-term equity in sport. That means both investing in the next generation of athletes today and also supporting them in the future,” said Rupert Campbell, president of adidas North America.
“We welcome this group of powerful student-athletes to the adidas family and look forward to working alongside them to define what is possible for the future of sport.”
The initial group of student-athletes was revealed at the brand’s Title IX celebration in New York City announced by Billie Jean King and Ally Love, attended by Layshia Clarendon, Kristine Lilly, Ifeoma (Ify) Onumonu, Imani Dorsey, Kelsey Robinson, media, family, and friends.
An Investment in All Athletes
adidas believes long-term equity in sport starts with investment. This initial all-female group of student-athletes builds on the brand’s March announcement of a sweeping, equitable and inclusive NIL Ambassador Network reaching more than 50,000 eligible student-athletes across 23 sports, all genders and 109 D1 universities beginning this fall at Power 5 programs and HBCUs.
Looking towards the next 50 years of Title IX, the Education Amendment prohibiting discrimination against students based on sex, adidas will continue investing in athletes and programs that increase representation and visibility, with this being a commitment to create a more progressive future of equity in sport.
“There is no place in sport for discrimination and we continue to see far too many instances of it today and the heavy impact it has on young athletes,” said Billie Jean King, adidas partner and Title IX pioneer.
“The investment in women and LGBTQI+ athletes is a genuine push to accelerate the success and well-being of all athletes and I’m proud to be involved as part of the adidas family in this step towards long-term equity.”
Creating Mentorship Programs
A new program, created in collaboration with basketball icon and long-term adidas partner Candace Parker, will provide mentorship to student-athletes as part of Parker’s vision to push the game forward.
To welcome the new student-athletes to the adidas family, Parker and her production company, Baby Hair Productions, co-directed a photo session earlier this month unveiling the new roster and providing athletes with the opportunity to get to know Parker, while creating lasting relationships with each other.
“I have the incredible opportunity to pay it forward with the next generation of athletes,” said Candace Parker. “I am so happy to be partnered with adidas who is aligned with my commitment to developing this mentorship program which will set these extraordinary student-athletes up for greatness in sport and life.”
As a kick-off to Parker’s mentorship program, each of the student-athletes met with basketball star Layshia Clarendon and soccer stars Ifeoma (Ify) Onumonu, Kristine Lilly, Imani Dorsey and Ally Love for an initial session at the Title IX celebration.
The engaging conversations touched upon relevant topics such as handling adversity, navigating college in a new NIL environment, the transition from college to pro, managing social media attention to advancing sport for all genders and more, from professional athletes who were once in their shoes.
Ifeoma (Ify) Onumonu, Imani Dorsey and Ally Love also joined a panel discussion at the event in New York City to discuss the importance of mentorship with the new roster of student-athletes.
Pursuing Allyship on College Campuses
This fall, adidas is expanding its partnership with Athlete Ally to facilitate outreach and workshops at eight adidas-partnered NCAA college campuses.
This strategic investment will drive education, policy reform and organizing of student-athletes to spur equity on campus and in sport with the goal of expanding Athlete Ally’s network of college chapters.
Athlete Ally Campus Chapters are safe spaces at colleges and universities where student-athletes can come together to create and sustain inclusive LGBTQI+ athletic communities and imagine a more representative future of sport.
Through these chapters, Athlete Ally and adidas will encourage fans, athletes, and students to engage in open conversations about fostering acceptance and allyship in sports.
Layshia Clarendon and Athlete Ally’s Founder Hudson Taylor joined adidas in discussing the importance of investing in an inclusive future of sport.
Ally Love and Louisville women’s basketball head coach Jeff Walz hosted a discussion about why our actions matter and the value of allyship in sport at the brand’s Title IX celebration in New York City.
“I started Athlete Ally as a college wrestler, and I have seen firsthand the power of college athletes to model allyship and respect for their coaches, teammates, and fans,” said Hudson Taylor, Founder and Executive Director of Athlete Ally.
“By equipping college athletes with the tools to champion LGBTQI+ inclusion on and off the playing field, Athlete Ally and adidas are working to shape the future of sport into what we know it can and should be. We are incredibly grateful to adidas for this partnership.”
As part of the growing partnership, adidas will host an inaugural Athlete Leadership Summit with Athlete Ally at a partner campus, bringing together athlete ambassadors, athletic departments, student-athletes and advocates to discuss progress and the next steps in driving inclusivity nationwide.
To celebrate the announcement, adidas is running a special giveaway of footwear signed by each of the 15 newly-signed student-athlete partners that will run from July 27 to August 3. Fans can learn more and sign-up for a chance to win here.