- Associated Press - Thursday, September 10, 2015

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) - Eugene School Board members are considering an exclusive-rights agreement that would put varsity players in Nike uniforms.

The proposal was presented Wednesday to the school board. Members of the public who spoke out against the proposal cited local business concerns as well as the dangers of allowing private companies to have a hand in Eugene schools, the Register-Guard reported (https://bit.ly/1UJ9Srm ).

University of Oregon doctoral student Dana Rognlie studies the ethical issues associated with apparel companies becoming involved in student athletics. She said during the meeting that Nike’s rising influence on the school matters has hamstrung university administrators.

“It is a blessing that Eugene schools remain immune from this toxic corporate control,” she said.

Eugene district athletics coordinator Kelly Bokn says about 80 percent of high school athletes already wear Nike gear.

The district has four high schools that would get about $15,000 annually in rebates for uniforms and equipment. The agreement would last through July 2020, though it would not apply to apparel worn at practices.

Athletes would have to wear Nike clothing during games, which includes footwear, uniforms, warm-ups, gloves, shirts, sweat suits, headwear, wristbands, and socks, among other items.

Bob Bussel told board members he was against the agreement. His daughter is a captain on the Sheldon High School Ultimate Frisbee team.

“We’re threatening to turn our kids into human billboards,” he said. “Is that what we really want to do within our schools?”

Members could vote on the agreement as soon as their Sept. 23 meeting.

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

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