16 teams commit for 2017 tournaments to honor Nike’s Phil Knight
In honor of Nike co-founder Phil Knight’s 80th birthday, 16 teams sponsored by Nike will take part in two, eight-team tournaments during Nov. 2017, reports ESPN’s Andy Katz.
The two tournaments will include many of the nation’s top programs: Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina, Michigan State, Florida, Ohio State, Georgetown, Connecticut, Oregon, Stanford, Xavier, Butler, Oklahoma, Texas, Portland and Gonzaga, Katz reports.
Knight’s 80th birthday will be Feb. 24, 2018.
The two-tournament format comes because teams from the same conference can’t play in the same tournament, Katz reports.
Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis was reportedly the driving force behind the event.
“All of these great basketball programs have been supported by Phil Knight and Nike,” Hollis said. “His support of the programs have created scholarships and resources for these departments to excel.”
The tournament could still have to adjust if any of the programs change sponsors or conferences in the next five years.