The Ohio State University football program announced that Oregon alum and Nike co-founder Phil Knight, along with former Notre Dame head coach Lou Holtz, as guest coaches for their upcoming spring football game.
According to the athletic department, the two will assist head coach Urban Meyer during the team’s annual spring football game on April 15th.
While Ohio State as strong ties to Nike, who outfit the university’s athletic program, the optics of Phil Knight being associated with the Buckeyes football team in such a public manner might irk many University of Oregon faithful.
Knight is the primary benefactor (as in he pays for literally everything) for the University of Oregon athletic program; leading to a massive upgrade and identity change to the program since the mid 1990s.
What will draw ire from many Ducks fans regarding this announcement is the fact that Marcus Mariota-led Oregon Ducks lost to Ohio State in the 2015 CFP National Championship Game. Given the recent decline of the team as well as Mariota’s stature in the community, this guest coaching gig might give off the impression that Knight is playing the field at Oregon’s expense.
Meyer and Knight have a notably close relationship and Knight’s invitation to guest coach the Buckeyes was delivered by Meyer himself.
Oregon’s spring football game has been set for April 29th. It remains to be seen if Knight will have a significant association with the game.