It's not exactly what you think.
Why is everyone so upset that Arkansas State has commanded their leading basketball scorer, Jerry Nichols, to wear Adidas shoes or sit, even though he doesn't want to wear them? He says they were responsible for his two knee operations. That's tough. The school's contract is with Adidas, and, as AD Dean Lee said, "This goes for all student-athletes that are under that contract."
The only thing that bothers me is his use of "student athlete." These guys are nothing of the sort. They're contract employees. You'll never get such an admission from what Paul Gallico once called "the last stronghold of hypocrisy," college sports, but Lee's statement comes close.