Monday, September 12, 2016

"A clause in the contract could, in the future, allow Nike to harvest personal data from Michigan athletes through the use of wearable technology"

As debates about athletes’ rights intensify in big-time college sports, the next frontier, independent experts say, could be privacy issues related to wearable tech, which in coming years could expand beyond health trackers like Fitbit and the Apple Watch to so-called smart clothing, with sensors embedded in the material itself.

The most ambitious projects are still on the drawing board. But at Michigan, a range of devices could eventually collect data including “speed, distance, vertical leap height, maximum time aloft, shot attempts, ball possession, heart rate, running route” and other measurements, according to the contract.

Although other universities have deals with technology companies governing health- and fitness-monitoring devices, Michigan’s contract drew notice not only because of the Wolverines’ high profile but also because the contract appears to allow for more comprehensive data collection than is typical and grants Nike, the world’s biggest sportswear company, broad rights “to utilize” that information.