Recommendations & Rationales for Universities such as UNC

Jennings Durand, David Loomis,

David Peedin, and Colby Weikel

Economics, Ethics, and Impacts of the

Global Economy: The NIKE Example

Andrews, Didow, Jones, and Peacock

April 30, 1998

Ideas and Opinions

by University Leaders

 

David Loomis

 

Working within a Misguided System

Criticism of popular culture and its fascination with sports as entertainment has come from numerous individuals involved with the UNC contract with NIKE. UNC-Chapel Hill Athletic Director Dick Baddour is one of them. "Society clearly puts too much emp hasis on sports," he said. "It's all out of whack." NIKE Chairman Phil Knight has predicted that the phenomenon will become an issue in the year 2000 presidential campaign. Even President Bill Clinton agrees. "America," he said at a recent conference on r ace and sports, "is a sports-crazy country."

UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Michael Hooker also has expressed concern about the culture's fascination with sports as "big-time public entertainment." However, he has publicly endorsed the contract with NIKE itself. Chancellor Hooker's endorsement of t he NIKE deal speaks volumes to critics, most of whom have muted their objections. Meanwhile, the chancellor has continued to defend the company and its relationship with the university, and he has expressed unwillingness to tackle issues involved. In an i nterview, for example, Hooker said: "Since Frank Porter Graham, we have not examined this issue of the role of athletics and the university, and Frank Porter Graham had his head handed to him when he did." Asked whether he was worried about having his hea d handed to him if he were to tackle the issues surrounding the NIKE-UNC deal, the chancellor replied: "I don't worry about it because I know that's what would happen to me."

But criticism of commercialization of university programs is a perennial of campus debate. As the criticism has revived with each sports controversy, so has it fed debates over commercialization of the academic curriculum. Concern over commercializatio n has not declined as private market economies expand into countries around the globe and into arenas formerly regarded as strictly public and non-profit. Elements of this debate are regularly condensed in "Doonesbury" cartoons. But the simmering argument s have not been fully aired in the case of NIKE and UNC-Chapel Hill. Does the relative quiet indicate acquiescence to the contract? The history suggests that the quiet is likely to be broken. In that case, the debate once again will revolve around a centr al question: What is the university's primary mission? If past is prologue, the question seems likely to be repeated, sparked by athletic scandal.

 

 

UNC System Past-President William Friday

William Friday, former president of the UNC system, has been an outspoken critic of the UNC contract with NIKE. He argues that the school can manage without the company's millions. "We've even had deficits before," Friday said. "We won national champ ionships in 1957 and 1983 without NIKE and TV. I saw it all happen without all this. So what's the big deal? Besides, I object to NIKE. They're exploiters. They exploit universities and players."

Further, Friday said, the NIKE deal carries a hidden cost. "UNC evaluations are slipping," Friday said. "I don't agree with U.S. News & World Report rankings, but they reflect perception. Emory is up. Virginia is up, Texas, Duke, Vanderbilt, too. A nd where have we spent the big money in recent years? On the Dean Dome and at the Kenan Stadium expansion. Have we done the same with libraries, classrooms, academics? What's the residual effect of that decision-making? Institutional integrity. Your job a s leader of the institution is to do what's best for the institution. Mostly, that's what's best for the people of the state, too. Privatization of public institutions is a condemnation and denial of the have-nots."

Friday, now serving as president of the William R. Kenan Jr. Fund on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus, summarized recurrent controversies involving money and college sports: "There's a lack of financial control, and there's too much money involved," Friday s aid.

Exhibit A, in Friday's view, is the case of NIKE and UNC. The company and the Chapel Hill campus first contracted in 1993. When a university self-study committee studied the deal in 1995, its report reflected deep and lingering doubts about commerciali zation of the university. "The agreement provides NIKE with a great deal of advertising value," the report read. "The university's name and image is for these purposes controlled by NIKE."

The report reflected on the amounts of money involved in the 1993 deal: UNC received cash payments totaling $420,000 over the life of the contract "and a vast amount of products," the report read. It continued:

That our minds boggle at such figures does not prevent us from seeing also the advantages NIKE gets from the agreement -- and from wondering whether that advantage does not signal a situation that is potentially dangerous for the university. We are con cerned about the potential for the exploitation of student athletes and of the good name of the university. Our chancellor is recommending urgent attention to such contracts on the part of both the ACC [Atlantic Coast Conference] and the NCAA [National Co llegiate Athletic Association]. There are many pressures in the direction of increased commercialization of varsity athletics, and we commend the Department of Athletics for the degree of success with which it has resisted them. We hope the NIKE contract will not prove to be the first hole in the dam. Big-money sports can so readily corrupt athletics programs.

Since then, the big money flowing between NIKE and UNC has grown bigger. When the 1993 contract was renewed in 1997, millions of dollars flowed from NIKE directly to UNC coaches, contrary to the recommendations of the Knight Commission and the concerns of the university's own 1995 study committee. For former UNC President Friday, now serving as president of the William R. Kenan Jr. Fund on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus, recurrent controversies in college sports stem from deals such as these, which in his view involve too much money and too little top administrative control over a private company's negotiations with campus employees -- in this case, coaches.

"Here is a classic illustration of the problem," said Friday, "an outside company dealing with personnel here on campus. This should never be. We don't allow other companies to do that. That contract should never have been negotiated -- with the chanc ellor, maybe, but not with the coaches. Where did the money go? The $7 million is not cash. That's a dollar value of equipment. The cash went to the coaches, except for $400,000, the chancellor's discretionary academic fund, which is NIKE's effort to buy into the administration. I don't think a great institution does this kind of thing.... It's the institution's integrity that gets put on the line." ...

Friday acknowledged that pressures behind such deals are fueled by popular culture. "Our country treats sports as religion," Friday said. "Now, even the NBA and the NFL are becoming concerned with image. Too much money is being paid to these people. An d we've confused celebrities with heroes. Celebrities are as greedy as we can be."

For Bill Friday, NIKE's success at commercializing amateur sports has come at the expense of educational institutions, both high schools and universities. "It distracts the university's attention from what it's supposed to do," said Friday. "The more m oney you get, the more involved you get. The trouble is, it's inevitably self-destructive. Scandal is going to happen again. It's happened about every 25 years. We're overdue today, and with vastly more money at stake."

For Friday, debate over alleged sweatshop conditions in East Asian shoe factories diverts attention from the most salient issue in the debate over NIKE and UNC, an issue that involves the same elements of sociology, politics and money that contributed to the Frank Porter Graham controversy six decades earlier. "This 'slave labor-sweatshop' issue distracts from the real issue," said Friday. "It's the power of money here at home."

What would Friday have done had the NIKE contract been his call?

"I would have said no to NIKE," said Friday. "It's like this: Take an Anthropology class. A publisher comes to a professor and says, "I will pay you $50,000 a year if you will require this textbook in all of your sections. What's the difference between that and NIKE? NIKE pays the coach $100,000 if his players wear its shoes. And if I'm a book publisher, I can buy a professor. The issue is freedom and independence of that institution. The trouble: That money becomes a habit. Your loyalties to the insti tution are subsumed to your loyalties to the company." ...

 

 

Recommendations to UNC

To break the cycle and minimize risk to UNC-Chapel Hill's integrity and reputation, the following recommendations summarize suggestions covered in this paper for steps that UNC-Chapel Hill's leadership should take:

    1. Follow strictly the Knight Commission recommendation that all negotiations with and revenues from commercial enterprises be handled, not just reviewed, by the school's top administrator or his or her designee.
    2. Demonstrate vocal and public leadership on such issues as the commercialization of basketball at the high-school and the college levels. Lend support to the North Carolina High School Athletic Association's effort to strengthen and reinforce vital lin ks between high schools and their student-athletes. Take a leadership role in reforms being considered by the NCAA.
    3. Use the bully pulpit provided by the chancellor's office. If, as many academic and political leaders say, sports has "gotten out of whack," then few other positions in society offer the independence, opportunity and responsibility to focus attention a nd lead discussion on such broad social issues as commercialization of society and its public institutions, such as university campuses. The Frank Porter Graham's experience, as interpreted by Chancellor Hooker, for example, can be interpreted as a positi ve lesson, rather than a negative one. Graham did spark controversy when he grappled in the 1930s with intercollegiate athletics and big moneyed interests, but he remains a revered and respected figure on the UNC campus and beyond long after his death due in part to his willingness to thoughtfully and constructively engage such issues.
    4. Demonstrate leadership by restoring balance to athletics through, for example, focusing on and increasing funding for non-revenue athletics, such as intramural sports and facilities.
    5. Demonstrate UNC's academic leadership by commissioning study of and convening a colloquium on the relationship between academics and athletics and the UNC-NIKE contract's role in that relationship. Consider alternatives to athletic funding by NIKE, su ch as public sources, nonprofit organizations -- such as athletic booster clubs -- and private foundations.

 

Ideas and Opinions

by Student-Athletes

 

Colby Weikel

Selling Players’ Freedom?

When thinking about a University's role in a contract with sponsors such as NIKE, the attention usually centers on issues of retaining the purity of sport or a university's ethical standards. The question of who calls the shots for the university is a serious question when dealing with sponsors. The often-overlooked question is how the contract affects student-athletes themselves. The athletes are the people who use the equipment and are who the sponsor wants to be seen wearing their product. These students are given free equipment in exchange for doing as their coaches and a contract demands, wearing only that particular brand on any official university function. The coaches get money to make sure the athletes wear the gear just incase the millio ns received by the athletic department are not enough to persuade a student-athlete. Essentially a player's freedom of choice is bought in return for a small amount of gear for that particular athlete.

Many athletes do receive a scholarship in addition to free equipment, but it could be argued that a scholarship should not require someone to renounce any freedom. It has come to be expected at this time in college athletics that it is all right to in fringe on a student's choice when it comes to big money for the University. Given that situation it is even more important to make sure that student-athletes are happy or at least complacent with the current situation. A University should maintain a con stant dialogue with their athletes and track these students' sentiments toward a partnership like UNC and NIKE's. It is easy to get caught up in the issues posed by people not directly affected by this type of contract, but one should remember who and wh at the contract is for: the student-athlete. They are the ones that make sacrifices in personal freedom and must use the equipment garnered through a sponsorship. It is of great importance that they like and want their equipment and never feel like they would have the rather freedom of choice to free shoes!

 

 

Survey of Student-Athlete Opinions

Just over 100 athletes at UNC were surveyed about their opinions of NIKE and other issues related to the contract and college athletics in general. It was important to gauge athletes' sentiments on the NIKE controversy here, the company, and the equip ment. The results were mixed on most issues and revealed that athletes here have not spent the time and effort that some have on this issue. That is not to their fault, but just a point that they are busy people and have tests and games to worry about g enerally at a higher priority level than the intricacies of the reason they get only NIKE gear. Several athletes have spent time looking at this issue, and many are somewhat disturbed.

The real key in my observation is that a minority of athletes have misgivings about NIKE's role at UNC. They have no choice and some feel they can not do or say anything about it. Even if that was just one person (which it is not), that presents the problem for this University. Does or should the athletic department have the right to take every athlete's freedom for what is generally seen as the collective good? There is no easy answer, but right now the University has done just that.

When looking at the data collected it is important to note a few points. Not all athletes were surveyed; there was a rather large sample, but it was not everyone. A disproportionately high number of non-revenue sports and women's sports are represent ed in the survey. The revenue sports are not missing, but they represent a larger percent of the athletes at UNC in general that in the survey results. There is a relatively large amount of freshmen; I feel that is a positive since they may be getting t heir first taste of free gear without a choice. Other than these few notations, it is best to let the data speak for itself and leave interpretation to the reader.

1. If I had to pick a company to sponsor UNC, I would choose Nike.

1-Agree 2- Somewhat Agree 3- Not Sure 4- Somewhat Disagree 5- Disagree

2. Nike was my favorite brand before I came to UNC.

1-Agree 2- Somewhat Agree 3- Not Sure 4- Somewhat Disagree 5- Disagree

3. I like that the Nike swoosh logo is on my uniform when I compete.

1-Agree 2- Somewhat Agree 3- Not Sure 4- Somewhat Disagree 5- Disagree

4. I would prefer there be no logo on my uniform.

1-Agree 2- Somewhat Agree 3- Not Sure 4- Somewhat Disagree 5- Disagree

5. I feel obligated to wear Nike because of the contract UNC has with them.

1-Agree 2- Somewhat Agree 3- Not Sure 4- Somewhat Disagree 5- Disagree

6. I feel I am provided the best clothing and equipment available.

1-Agree 2- Somewhat Agree 3- Not Sure 4- Somewhat Disagree 5- Disagree

7. The University’s contract with Nike affected my decision to attend UNC.

1-Agree 2- Somewhat Agree 3- Not Sure 4- Somewhat Disagree 5- Disagree

8. In general, I prefer products made in the United States.

1-Agree 2- Somewhat Agree 3- Not Sure 4- Somewhat Disagree 5- Disagree

9. I can speak out against Nike, without fear of punishment.

1-Agree 2- Somewhat Agree 3- Not Sure 4- Somewhat Disagree 5- Disagree

10. It is fair that Nike pays the coaches for me to wear Nike’s products.

1-Agree 2- Somewhat Agree 3- Not Sure 4- Somewhat Disagree 5- Disagree

11. I think college athletes should be paid to play in addition to receiving scholarships.

1-Agree 2- Somewhat Agree 3- Not Sure 4- Somewhat Disagree 5- Disagree

12. Nike treats its workers fairly.

1-Agree 2- Somewhat Agree 3- Not Sure 4- Somewhat Disagree 5- Disagree

13. The media or student groups have unfairly singled out Nike.

1-Agree 2- Somewhat Agree 3- Not Sure 4- Somewhat Disagree 5- Disagree

14. TV and Nike give UNC lots of money, so we should try to keep them happy.

1-Agree 2- Somewhat Agree 3- Not Sure 4- Somewhat Disagree 5- Disagree

Survey Results

 

 

 

Contentious Issues

of the Specifics of the UNC-NIKE Contract

Jennings Durand

 

With the NIKE contract, is UNC giving up certain elements of control over its Athletics Department?

One of the most frequent criticisms of the UNC contract with NIKE is that the University has partially sacrificed ownership and control of its athletics program. However, a close examination of both the all-sports agreement and the individual coaches’ contracts reveals only a few marginally problematic issues. In such cases, the concern is not that the University has specifically sacrificed its integrity through the contract but rather that ambiguous language within the contract might yield potential for abuse.

In the University contract itself, UNC has agreed to making the following concessions to NIKE:

    1. Use of Game Footage: NIKE may use UNC athletics game footage in print and broadcast advertisements. However, any such use must be approved by the University before release.
    2. Uniform Swoosh Exposure: Every UNC athlete must wear NIKE apparel while competing in an official UNC contest. The contract specifically states that one of the major benefits to NIKE is the television and live-audience exposure value.
    3. Basketball Tour: UNC will make both the men’s and women’s basketball teams available to make one international tour and exhibition trip. Paid for by NIKE, the trip will occur one time over the life of the contract. The tour is one of the more ambiguous elements of the contract. Though it clearly will occur for both teams, it is unclear whether students will be asked to participate during the academic year or whether they will be asked to spend part of summer or winter break on a tour .
    4. NIKE Tournament Participation: UNC will make the men’s basketball team, the women’s basketball team, or the women’s soccer team available for an NCAA exempt NIKE-sponsored tournament. Such an appearance would occur once every three yea rs and would not conflict with UNC, ACC, or NCAA regulations regarding maximum levels of competition. As with the basketball tours, this tournament aspect of the contract is ambiguous concerning the time of the tournament and the flexibility of the Unive rsity to choose between possible events and participating teams.
    5. Tickets: UNC will provide NIKE with several tickets to all home athletics events and ACC and NCAA tournament events.
    6. UNC Athletics Publications: UNC will place NIKE advertisements in its team programs, media guides, schedule cards, and other appropriate athletics related publications.

 

 

 

Regarding the individual coaches’ contracts with NIKE, the coaches make only three concessions to NIKE by signing the contract:

    1. Personal Appearances: The coach agrees to make a certain number of personal appearances for NIKE. Such appearances may include photography sessions, "meet and greet" events, or public speaking engagements.
    2. Coach’s Endorsement: The coach officially endorses NIKE athletics equipment and apparel and authorizes NIKE to use his or her name, autograph, facsimile signature, voice, or image in connection with product manufacturing, promotion, or sales campaigns.
    3. Coach’s Wardrobe: The coach agrees to wear NIKE apparel when representing the University, when appearing on television coach’s programs, and at other appropriate public appearances.

Aside from potential problems generated by the ambiguous nature of the basketball tours and the NIKE tournament, none of the contractual obligations represent the University’s losing control of its athletics operations. Instead, UNC has demonstrated c omplete control of its operations by selecting particular concessions that it is willing to give NIKE in exchange for the many benefits to the Department of Athletics and the University as a whole.

Another criticism of both the University and coaches’ contracts with NIKE is that the company has gained a vertical monopoly within athletics that applies strong though quiet pressures upon athletes, coaches, and managers. The explosion of apparel com pany-sponsored athletics camps has already led high school students to identify themselves as NIKE, Adidas, or Reebok athletes. Furthermore, apparel companies have begun hiring club and "street" coaches to recruit athletes to attend the employe r company’s camps.

The criticism of the UNC-NIKE relationship is that the University might become another step in student-athletes movement from high school to club to college athletics. For example, a student whose club coach persuades him to attend a NIKE basketball c amp might feel direct or indirect pressure to later attend a school holding a NIKE contract. More insidiously, a school holding a NIKE contract might feel direct or indirect pressure to recruit only students whose prior affiliations have been with NIKE c amps or club teams.

However, this argument against the UNC-NIKE contract is based in conjecture rather than upon actual language from the contract itself. Unless every statement of its commitment to the integrity of amateur ideals in intercollegiate athletics has been un true, the UNC Department of Athletics would sever its ties to NIKE if it ever felt pressured to tailor its recruitment policies towards the desires of the company. On the other hand, if the University were to conclude that it was an unwilling participant in a chain that corrupted the amateurism of youth club and high school athletics, the University should consider severing its ties with NIKE or using its influence to push NIKE to systemically change its involvement with club level athletes.

 

 

Do the coaches' contracts with NIKE make them accountable to NIKE before UNC?

Despite charges that coaches have become primarily employees of shoe companies, only one issue in the UNC coaches’ contracts with NIKE makes the coaches’ obligations to the company interfere with their duties as head coaches of University athletics tea ms: the endorsement. Other obligations of the coach to NIKE – wearing NIKE apparel and making public appearances – do not infringe upon actual coaching duties.

The endorsement issue, on the other hand, comes as a direct contrast to the coach’s role to keep the best interest of his or her student-athletes at the heart of teaching. Part of that role consists of teaching the strategies of the game; part consist s of teaching how to take every necessary step to participate as safely as possible. An important component of safe participation is the selection of the best possible equipment for the needs of the student-athlete. If a coach makes recommendations to s tudents based not upon the specific elements of those students’ well-being but rather upon a contractual obligation to a particular manufacturer of equipment, the coach has violated a principle of teaching. Such action perfectly parallels an obviously un acceptable scenario that a medical school instructor accepted a contract with a company that manufactures a certain type of surgical equipment and that a condition of the contract was that the instructor endorsed the product and refused to teach students techniques using other equipment.

Some might counter this argument by emphasizing that NIKE equipment is often regarded as the best equipment available. Such an argument fails, however, since part of the reason that the equipment is regarded as the best is that NIKE has paid numerous athletes and coaches to claim that it is such. In addition, even if a coach honestly believed NIKE equipment to be superior to other companies’, there is no guarantee that another company would not create a superior product in the future that the coach w ould be unable to endorse if still bound by the NIKE contract.

 

 

Does the contract violate the spirit of intercollegiate athletics' principle of maintaining equitable levels of competition?

Thorough consideration of this question reveals the true answer to be: "Yes." By helping UNC to be one of the nation’s only universities to operate a self-supporting athletics program, the NIKE contract allows the University to divert funds from equipment towards the race to obtain the resources required for building future success (i.e., winning, as far as the present system is oriented) in intercollegiate athletics. Money that might have been used for purchasing equipment or paying coache s salaries (now paid in part by NIKE) can instead be used for fundraising campaigns to help build multi-million dollar football and basketball stadia – complete with cherry oak paneling, bronze elevator doors, and custom made UNC bathroom tiles for the lo cker rooms. Such facilities help seduce top-notch recruits whose performance, in turn, garners national exposure, television contracts to broadcast UNC athletics events, and renewed commitments from apparel companies to provide equipment and money in exc hange for the marketing value of the popular "amateur" extracurricular activities.

Clearly, NIKE did not offer its riches to UNC after choosing the University by random selection; rather, the company selected the University due to its past record of success. In other words, NIKE is not the cause of UNC’s status as one of the nation’ s wealthiest and winningest athletics programs, but it does help to maintain that status.

This line of argument does not object to the current system on the whiny grounds that, "It’s just not fair." Instead, the objection is that big time athletics runs absolutely contrary to the purpose of athletics within the system of educatio n.

Although it is still considered an extracurricular activity, athletics can educate students in similar fashion to a math, history, or chemistry class. At the beginning of the course of study, teachers help students identify goals for the semester or y ear. Next, students learn the techniques used to reach those goals. Throughout the course, students practice those techniques until they are mastered.

Ironically, when reaching the "big time" level, the emphasis of athletics education shifts from the teaching of techniques to the ability to bring in students whose techniques are already well learned. While universities certainly recruit st udents who have already well developed math, history, and chemistry skills, those students compete against one another and against written tests and papers for grades rather than against students from other schools. Students of athletics, on the other ha nd, test their skills against competitors from other schools. Thus, in order to make such tests meaningful and valid measures of the extent to which students have learned the techniques, the competition must be fair. For example, if defending NCAA champ ions Kentucky, filled with high school All-American recruits, played basketball against Elon College, a team comprised of mid-level high school talent, the match would not provide a true test of the education received over the semester by either team. No matter how much the Elon College players had learned and practiced, they would not have a realistic chance to defeat Kentucky.

Thus, it is in the interest of the students’ education for athletics programs to seek to compete against teams comprised of like-talented athletes. Without athletics-based recruiting, teams would be filled with players with a range of previously train ed ability. With a natural distribution of the most talented players, colleges and universities would have numerous potential opponents against who to test their abilities. Thus, if the goal of intercollegiate athletics involved education alone, the sys tem would be drastically different.

Instead, the potential profitability and advertising value of maintaining an elite athletics program has superseded pure efforts to assure its educational value. Recruiting is not only accepted, but it is crucial to the success of elite teams. Numero us magazines rank recruiting classes for men’s basketball and football teams to project their potential in the coming years. Furthermore, many of the students admitted to universities based on their extraordinary athletics talents would not have been adm itted based upon academic merits alone.

The public’s massive interest in watching, listening to, and reading about elite college athletics emphasizes that the system’s business is entertainment. It is a natural step for NIKE and its peer companies to seek to take advantage of the marketing value by being associated with elite athletics programs and by having their logos painted onto the elite athletes they recruit. While apparel company contracts certainly help to maintain the top athletics programs’ status, they do are symptoms rather tha n causes of the systemic flaws.

 

Recommendations to UNC:

  1. Prohibit individual coaches from signing contracts with NIKE. A bribe for a coach’s unwavering endorsement of athletic products directly conflicts with the coach’s role as teacher and advisor to his or her students regarding safe and effective practi ces of participation.
  2. Modify the contract so that students may choose to wear non-NIKE apparel during practice and contests so long as the students realize that they must pay for the equipment themselves and that they must cover or "spat" non-NIKE logos. The Uni versity’s present dictate that student-athletes must wear NIKE except in the case of medical problem is a blatant infringement of the students’ free choice.
  3. Define the parameters of the basketball tours and obligations to participate in NIKE tournaments. Remove ambiguity by stating which times of the year the teams will be unavailable due to academic concerns and whether individual athletes will be requi red to take part in the tournaments.
  4. Study the University’s possible role as an unwilling participant in a chain that is corrupting the amateurism of youth athletics. Work with apparel companies, peer universities, and youth athletics organizations, coaches, and athletes to assess the s everity of the problems and create solutions.
  5. Recognize the intellectual dishonesty of failing to act despite the realization of impropriety. When speaking to this class, University leaders unanimously stated that they would drastically alter the system of intercollegiate athletics if it were in their power to do so. However, citing the desire to protect their jobs or the need to work within the system, they claimed an inability to act towards such change. History is filled with people holding positions of leadership who, based on fear of reac tion by the wealthy and influential, failed to attempt the main task of a leader: to lead.

 

Implications for Other University Groups

 

David Peedin

 

Rising Costs of Education

Unfortunately the labor intensive institution of education is not getting any easier to operate. Education is getting more expensive and legislators are not willing to pay for the increasing costs. Nor is it always in the best interest for ed ucators to increase tuition. New buildings are being constructed to allow for better education and to provide learning for as many students as possible. Examine the new $40 million McColl building on South Campus. It is a state of the art business sch ool. McColl has thousands of laptop outlets to connect to the school’s mainframe, the school also has the latest in teleconferencing and computer equipment. But only a small percentage of the funds came from public money, the vast majority came from pri vate corporations, such as Sprint, Nationsbank, and Sonoco. However collegiate costs for students are increasing also. ON average these costs (such as room and board, books, and tuition) have increased 7% over the past decade. This has made financial p lanning for college difficult. With costs increasing on both sides (administration and students) universities are struggling to discover new revenue streams for education. One such ideal is the concept of letting private organizations donate money for s uch privileges as affixing a name on a classroom, providing professorships, or sponsoring athletic programs. While whether or not this is a good idea, I do not think that a paper like this should debate such ethics. Allowing for private enterprise to en ter into the classroom is a very visceral subject which I do not want to approach. However I plan to discuss the plight of such campus organizations and present of such partnerships can benefit. Specifically I will address the Marching Tarheels, an orga nization which could benefit from a partnership with NIKE or a sports apparel manufacturer.

 

 

Managing the UNC Marching Tarheels

It’s another spring day in Hill Hall. Even though all the basketball and football games have been played, the band office is quite busy. Jeffrey Fuchs, the director of bands, hardly has time to sit down and reflect on the year. The band now plans fo r their annual band banquet, next year’s football halftime shows, and most importantly band camp. Along with all this they have to find recruits for next year’s band and any grant money they can find. Life never slows down for Fuchs and the Marching Tar heel staff. "What people see on the field or at basketball games is a finished product. There is so much work that goes into that, however", says Brian Maynor, the band’s drum major. The band has to contend with uniforms, food, equipment, mus ic, and a whole host of other items that go into creating the final product each Saturday in the fall.

This past year the band went to new uniforms. They were a change from the old uniforms used in the past. Particularly they now featured black pants, instead of blue or white. This presents a new problem the band members had to purchase new shoes for their uniforms, since their old white ones were not fashionable. Jeffrey Fuchs was able to negotiate for his band students to purchase black shoes at cost. They were $30. This sounds quite noble of NIKE: provide the band shoes at cost and get promotio n. However some problems did arise with the new shoes. They are basic referee shoes, all black with a black "swoosh" on the side. There is an air pocket attached to the insole. One member of the band, Shaw Duncan replied, "they are not very comfortable, and I do not like to wear them." Also some problems came about when the shoes first arrived, and they did not fit properly. Members who wore a size ten could not wear the size ten provided by NIKE.

Basically the question here is who benefited the most? I would say NIKE. Band shoes historically have been uncomfortable. As a former band member, I wore what are called Dinkles, after the "Funky Winkerbean" comic strip character who dire cts a high school band. These shoes were horrible, I could not stand to wear these at the four or five hour periods that I was forced to. Dinkles cost between $20 and $30 dollars, and there are no markings on the shoes to promote Dinkles. NIKE provided a Dinkle and got promotion along with the sale. True, NIKE did show some generosity by selling the shoes at cost, when they could have sold the shoes at a much higher retail price. But if you are going to receive the promotions, why not give the band m ore. Other institutions, such as Maryland, have a "swoosh" on their uniforms at basketball games. When I asked Jeff Fuchs what he thought about placing a "swoosh" on his uniform for basketball games he replied, "Hey if they want to give me something, I will see what I can do." Fuchs was also quick to point out that there were some restrictions. At the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, Maryland had to put tape over the "swoosh" when it played at the games. Other members of the band expressed discouragement at NIKE, and said they thought the company would do more to promote NIKE to the band. Shaw Duncan stated, "I really do not like what NIKE is doing. Inexpensive shoes are nice; however, I think we should get more for promoting NIKE, like shirts."

 

 

Including the Marching Tar Heels in the UNC-NIKE Contract

The following is an outline for how NIKE could work with the band to foster a better relationship with the university community. There is an equitable need on both sides, the band wants better uniforms that NIKE can provide, and NIKE wants promotions and good welfare that such an endorsement could bring.

    1. In exchange for marching band shoes, the band would agree to place a sign outside of Wilson library, where they meet for football games in the fall. This is one of the main thoroughfares to football games, so many fans would see the NIKE sign. Addit ionally Jeffrey Fuchs and NIKE would work together and develop a marching band shoe. Referee shoes are good, but marchers have different pressure points and Fuchs could provide insight into what parts of the foot are affected the most by marching. The s hoe would be developed primarily at UNC-CH.
    2. NIKE would provide uniforms and outfits to the band in exchange for the exclusive right to supply the band with uniforms to wear at basketball performances.

It is necessary to note that the band attracts a great deal of attention. Not only do they play at football games they have a band contest in the fall featuring many high school bands. For NIKE to support the band may result in a significant increase in sales for the company.

Many people have a problem with the commercialization of collegiate sports. They insist that the ideal of companies and universities cooperating in "joint ventures" works against basic premises of academics. According to these people the in stitution is sacred, and should stand by itself as an entity and not be subjugated to constraints other corporations may place upon the college. I am not advocating the destruction of the university as an institution, but I think there is a need for univ ersities and corporate society to cooperate in a regulated environment. Jeffrey Fuchs discusses his tenure at Kansas. He states,

"I really did not like the fact that the basketball games were so commercialized. Every time a timeout was called we had to wait to play and do our job, because there was a commercial. The band is there to play for t he fans and excite them and the players. It is very hard to do our job when there is a Domino’s pizza time out, and we have to wait. Ever go to a women’s basketball game here? That’s all there is. I like the fact the there is no commercialization in t he Dean Dome, it allows us to do our job."

Why should the university "bend" when they set up alliances? As long as the contract stipulates that the university operates as it did, and all parts of the organization can behave as they should and along with their intention, there is noth ing wrong with the corporate alliances. The problems come, as least from what I can discover, when corporate America decides what the university should do, such as having nine o’clock basketball games during the week. This goes against the inherent purp ose of college and universities, which is to educate. Corporations should respect the integrity of the institution and not try and force the university to act in a manner, which forces it to violate its mission. UNC-CH’s mission is to educate and resear ch, not to play athletics. Sports are very important, but to ignore the education component of this university would be to force us to shirk our duties.