Portland school board members are raising questions about Nike's high school basketball sponsorships.
According to Oregon Live, Nike has exclusive apparel deals with 70 of Oregon's 75 large public high schools, in which the Swoosh provides each with $15,000 in yearly credit toward uniforms. These deals are closely monitored by school districts, however Nike has a handful of other relationships with teams which board members say deserve a closer look.
In addition to the apparel deals, Nike has reportedly been known to provide sneakers to other teams including Grant High School and Jefferson High School—arrangements which aren't technically sponsorship deals and therefore aren't as closely scrutinized.
While the Jefferson boys team's ties to Nike's Jordan Brand were recently revealed, district spokesman Dave Northfield and athletic director Marshall Haskins allegedly told reporters that no other teams were sponsored by the brand.
It was later discovered that Nike sent Grant 100 pairs of sneakers, a detail Northfield says he failed to disclose because coach Robert Key didn't view the agreement as a sponsorship since it only involved footwear and not apparel. Key has reportedly been unable to produce records of the arrangement.
This situation is potentially problematic because the districts could be in violation of sexual discrimination policies in federal Title IX regulations if it's found that product wasn't evenly distributed among genders.
"Absolutely it's appropriate for us as a board to take a look at these things in the interest of equity and making sure that our kids have equal opportunity to the same kind of benefits," said school board member Amy Kohnstamm.