The University of Oregon athletic teams’ success provides the university with an increase in its national brand recognition. Yet, in order to recruit top athletes to accomplish this success in such a short period of time, the U of O needed to establish the necessary atmosphere for athletes to thrive in. This is where Phil Knight, an Oregon alumnus and Nike’s co-founder and chairman, comes in to the picture.
Knight has donated more than $300 million to the university with the sole purpose of transforming the U of O’s athletic department into a powerhouse. But new stadiums, buildings and gear are just the tip of the iceberg to how beneficial this relationship truly is.
This relationship allows the University of Oregon to build a positive image and gain national recognition for both its athletic department and its academics. Dena Potter, from the Associated Press, says that the ‘Flutie Effect’ is the term for when a schools’ athletic teams are successful in high-profile sporting events it leads to an increase in applications.
The U of O’s prominent athletic standings gain the interest of perspective students, fans and donors when they make it to championships or playoff games. Knight’s commitment to Oregon athletics provides a way to promote the university to interested students because he provides the means to achieve the status of a national, power brand. If the university receives an increase in applications it means an increase in qualified applicants, which can lead to a boost in the school’s academic performance. This would allow the university to grow its image as a premier educator.
Knight provides the U of O with the financial means to build a strong, athletic program, but his reach doesn’t stop there. He grants the university the chance to become an academic and athletic powerhouse. The truth is that Phil Knight and the U of O are leading the way for the future of college athletics, where corporations sponsor university teams to create a mutually beneficial relationship.