- Associated Press - Thursday, December 3, 2015

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) - The Eugene School Board has approved an exclusive-rights apparel agreement with Oregon-based Nike.

After several months of consideration, the board voted 5-2 Wednesday to approve the deal, which will provide the district with at least $300,000 in product rebates for varsity sports uniforms and equipment during the next five years, according to The Register-Guard (http://is.gd/9hDWYx).

According to contract support documents, the district spends about $140,000 per year on high school varsity teams’ gear. About $25,000 of that is from the general fund.

The deal stipulates that varsity athletes at the district’s four high schools are required to wear Nike uniforms in games and other official activities.

The board chose the Nike contract over a proposal offered by Adidas.

Some board members opposed the deal because it commercialized kids, using varsity athletes as advertisements.

“It’s hard for me to hear the word ‘equity’ associated with this, because it’s not equal,” said board member Alicia Hays. “It isn’t about local business, it’s not about equity, it’s about the commercialization of our kids and I won’t be supporting it.”

Other board members argued that the agreement leveled the playing field for the schools, which have unequal levels of private funding.

“Two of our (high) schools have a lot of private funding and don’t have an issue getting new uniforms,” said vice chairwoman Jennifer Geller. “This would provide opportunities for all our schools to have that.”

Isaac Barrera, a 17-year-old student board representative from North Eugene High School, said the contract isn’t an issue because Nike and Adidas are both found frequently across campus.

“We don’t see it as a commercialism issue,” Barrera said. “We just hope that it helps out the schools that don’t have as much money.”

Nike has similar agreements with more than three dozen high schools, said company spokesman Greg Rossiter. Those include schools in Banks, Brookings, Corvallis, Hillsboro, Lake Oswego and Tualatin, as well as nine Portland public high schools.

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Information from: The Register-Guard, http://www.registerguard.com

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