Nike Makes Massive Cuts As Reports Of Phil Knight’s ‘Unlimited’ NIL Budget At Oregon Circulate

Nike co-founder Phil Knight on the field before a football game between Oregon and Arizona.

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Nike is reportedly making major cuts, laying off a number of high-level executives in hopes of eliminating costs. The company has been “losing ground” to smaller rivals as casual runners go with other options.

The Oregonian wrote about those cuts over the 4th of July holiday, detailing the sweeping actions and their impacts on the future.

The sportswear giant in April said it would eliminate 740 Oregon jobs, part of a 2% reduction in its global workforce and an ongoing $2 billion cost-cutting effort. Nike has been losing ground against smaller, nimbler rivals and focusing on developing new products.

The company recently provided a list of 732 jobs it eliminated this year to the state’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission, as required when mass layoffs occur.

The list shows Nike laid off 32 vice presidents, 112 senior directors and 174 directors, accounting for more than 40% of the jobs the company eliminated.

Of note, the areas taking the hardest hit were finance, brand, footwear, and apparel. It’s also interesting to see nearly half of the layoffs include vice presidents, senior directors, and directors.

The cuts come at in interesting time given the college football recruiting season. At the moment, it seems Phil Knight is more focused on the Oregon Ducks!

Nike’s founder is funding the NIL budget.

And it’s worked swimmingly!

The Ducks have three 5-star players and 11 4-stars in the 2025 class. A significant portion of that talent committed during a week-long heater late in the month of June.

Former PAC 12 head coach Rick Neuheisel said that’s it’s “no secret that Phil Knight is supplying Oregon with unlimited NIL resources” as he “desperately wants to see a national championship” at 86 years old.

With the No. 5 ranked recruiting class in the ’25 cycle, the time to win is now!

Knight retired as CEO at Nike in 2004 though he’s still involved with the company he co-founded in a chairman emeritus role.

While he may no longer possess the everyday influence he once did, the optics still aren’t great!

As Nike pushes to cut costs, he’s doling out boatloads of cash to his alma mater’s football team. We’ll see if his dream of a national championship comes to fruition.