HOUSTON (CN) – Nike conspired with an association of high school football coaches to cut out the founder of the Texas Football Combine from the event he spent 8 years building until it included nearly 3,000 prospects from across the country, Terry Burdick claims in Harris County Court.
Burdick has owned a sports marketing company and has filmed and helped Houston student athletes for 20 years, he says. In 2000 he founded the Texas Football Combine – a battery of tests by which college recruiters can measure speed, strength and agility – and entered into a partnership with the Greater Houston Football Coaches Association to staff the event, Burdick says.
Burdick says he agreed to create a Web site for the Combine, manage its sponsorships and compile statistics from the event to sell to recruiters.
Nike agreed to sponsor the 2008 combine, Burdick says. But recognizing the money to be made from it, Nike persuaded coaches’ association to hand over rights to the event, in exchange for Nike’s promise to sponsor a high school all-star game, Burdick says. He claims Nike also made the coaches group promise to cease all communication with Burdick 2 months before the Combine.
“Plaintiff’s success abruptly ended after contracting with Nike to sponsor the 2008 9th Annual TFC,” according to the complaint.
Nike added the Texas Football Combine to the more than 160 other combines it already sponsors, and after pushing Burdick out it unveiled the “Nike SPARQ Training Program,” which tests athletes’ prowess and gives them a rating to track their progress against others around the world.
“In one month the defendants obliterated the plaintiff’s dream … and eight years of hard work and labor,” Burdick says. He demands punitive damages from Nike and the Greater Houston Football Coaches Association, alleging misappropriation, unfair business practices, interference and breach of contract.
He is represented by Robert Collier of Houston.