PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — There needs to be greater scrutiny of athletic sponsorships involving free Nike gear for winning high school teams, according to northwestern Oregon school officials.
The Board of Education for Portland Public Schools released the statement Friday amid concerns the gear from the athletic shoe and clothing giant could violate federal regulations ensuring equal opportunities for boys and girls, the Oregonian/OregonLive reported .
"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," board member Amy Kohnstamm said.
Board Chairwoman Julie Brim-Edwards said the district "should look at our policies and practices and consider whether we need to have a different reporting mechanism."
Nike has agreements with 70 of the 75 large public schools in Oregon that are tracked by school districts.
But the Beaverton-based company also provides free merchandise to schools with top programs that aren't tracked.
School officials did provide information showing the Jefferson High School boys' basketball team received 95 shorts, 60 shoes and other gear. The team has won seven state titles since 2000.
But it's not clear how many schools might be receiving similar products that aren't being tracked. District officials across the state told the newspaper that they were unaware of such arrangements, even those benefiting teams within their districts.
Portland School District spokesman Dave Northfield said the district is grateful for the support of its many corporate partners that benefit students.
"The district is discussing a review of its policies and practices on how these contributions are tracked, and will determine if there is a need to begin a more thorough accounting of these contributions," Northfield said in a statement.
Information from: The Oregonian/OregonLive, http://www.oregonlive.com