Who’s In Charge? UO Administrators or Nike Officials?

From raising money to help those in need, to petitioning to save McArthur Court from being turned into housing, students at the University of Oregon collectively strive to make the world a better place. However, there have been instances where students have failed to make a difference. Back in 2000, students gathered around Johnson Hall to protest the schools biggest donor, Nike.

In 1998, prior to the school protest, child labor activists urged Nike to raise the age requirement for those working in their factories to 18. Nike gave their word that they would monitor their overseas factories. “Philip Knight, the company chairman, clearly stung by reports of children as young as 10 making shoes, clothing and footballs in Pakistan and Cambodia, attempted to convince Nike’s critics that it had only ever employed children accidentally (admits to mistake).”

When news of Nike’s ill treatment of its workers began to circulate through the media, students at the U of O began to take action into their own hands. Students, as well as some faculty members, believed Nike should be subjected to random factory inspections. The University’s president at the time, Dave Frohnmayer, promised the protesting students that he would make sure that inspections of Nike factories would begin. Nike officals, who were concerned by the former president’s statement, had Frohnmayer visit the Nike’s headquarters in Beaverton, OR to discuss a plan of action.

Nike informed Frohnmayer that they would rescind a $30 million donation for renovations to Autzen Stadium if the protests turned out to damage Nike. When he returned, Frohnmayer told the student’s that although there would be inspections at Nike’s factories, they would notify subcontractors of the factories six months in advance of the exact date of the inspection. Nike’s threat of taking away a donation of $30 million and how quick Frohnmayer changed his mind proves how much power and control Nike has over the school and its administrators.

For the past ten weeks, our group’s blog, University of Oregon and University of Nike, has researched and reported on a subject that is rarely talked about in the open. Nike, and more specifically Nike founder and CEO Phil Knight, has a strong hold on the university’s Athletic Department and the decisions it has to make. Our purpose is to bring this subject into a greater light and show the effects the powerful corporate sponsor has on university decisions. As we discovered throughout this period of keeping a blog, there is little to no information out there about Nike’s secret hold on our university. Also through our blog, we hope to show how Nike’s donations have become focused solely on the athletic system.

During this term, Nike and the University of Oregon agreed on a contract extension through 2018. The University of Oregon released a redacted version of their contract pertaining to Nike’s use of the UO athletics for marketing purposes to Rachel Bachman. This contract had information about the University of Oregon and Nike using the athletes at the UO as a marketing tool. Essentially Nike was producing the University of Oregon with funding for the athletic program and, to some extent, using UO athletes as a tool for their company’s benefit. The UO initially had the rights to the marketing purpose of their athletes with an opportunity to sell or withhold them, as the school would like. The University of Oregon sold marketing rights to Nike at an undisclosed price that was considered to be trade secret. The redacted version had missing information that Bachman thought was important to her research. The UO claimed the redacted information was a “trade-secret” which was protected information under the Oregon law ORS192.502 that states, “Certain public records are exempt from disclosure.”  The legal term “trade-secret” according to definitions.uslegal.com, is “a process, method, plan, formula or other information unique to a manufacturer, which has value due to the market advantage over competitors it produces. Use or disclosure of a trade secret by an employee, former employee, or anyone else may be prohibited by a court-ordered injunction.” The information in this contract does not show the university in a negative light as it would for Nike. The University of Oregon has chosen not to disclose this information because it would affect their relationship with Nike in a negative way. In addition to the contract extension with the U of O, Nike, along with generous donations from Knight, have helped transform the visual appeal of the schools athletic department. From uniforms to athletic facilities, Nike has turned the University of Oregon athletic department into one of the best looking and respected athletic departments in the country.

Currently, construction is being completed on the new basketball arena, which upon its completion, will be one of the nicest facilities in the nation. Thanks to a $100 million donation by Knight, the stadium was rushed into construction and is set to be ready for the upcoming season. Also, courtesy of Nike and Knight, student athletes have an up-to-date, all-glass academic facility that makes all other buildings on the UO campus look outdated and out of place.

As of recently, the UO athletic department, with the charitable help of Knight and Nike, has plans to build a new football operations center near Autzen stadium. These plans, which were approved by the State Board of Higher Education on June 4th, require building on the current site of the UO soccer and lacrosse field. The approval by the board allows a private group financed by Nike co-founder Phil Knight to sidestep the public process of approval and disclosure of plans. This move allows for Knight and the private group Phit LLC to make the unusual move of leasing the property from the university, building the expansion and then donating the completed project to the university. This process is identical to what happened for the construction of the new student athlete center.

Having Nike become the main decision maker when it comes to things like uniforms and athletic facilities has become an increasing problem. It is not appropriate for a company, who is donating money, to have restrictions on where that money is used on the University of Oregon campus. With students consciously unaware of the ramifications Nike has on the university, the problem will only get worse. Ben Unger, who wrote the article titled University of Nike, puts Nike’s intentions out in the open. “All private money is supposed to make more money.  Not one dime of their money is a gift, all of it is an investment.” Unger hits on a great point. Is Nike providing donations for improving the colligate experience for students and athletes or for marketing and revenue increasing?

Students at the University of Oregon have the privilege of watching college sports played in some of the nation’s premier facilities. Autzen Stadium, PK Park and the new Matthew Knight Arena are considered some of college sports most revered venues. With all of this to offer, the school attracts plenty of attention and fills new enrollment quickly on a yearly basis. Students are obviously attracted to the athletic perks of being a student and most of this is courtesy of Nike and Knight. The question that we wanted to answer here is how do students feel about Nike on the university campus?

It is obvious that there is a mixed feeling about Nike that has rather faded away since the incident in 2000. Knight has worked to keep any details about the operations of Nike under tight cover so the athletic products and the sporting facilities mostly dictate opinions about Nike. In an article in The Oregonian, Steve Duin stated, “Students at Oregon have settled for a marvelous lesson in the compromises that must be made in the name of expediency and Phil Knight.” The conflict of interest between Knight and the University quits a lot of students’ negative thinking.

Our blog has worked to cover the topic involving Nike and the University throughout its duration. Nike and the opinions regarding its interactions with the university have evolved over time. However, the influence that Nike has on campus decisions has not changed much. As it stands, Nike will be an influence on campus for a long time. Student awareness of the company and Knight’s actual influence on campus is something that will continue to evolve. With the national perception of the university influenced so heavily by Nike students should be inclined to pay more attention to the acts of the company.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

NikeTown Application

It is no secret that people would love the opportunity to see what it is like to be a popular and well-liked athlete. Ever since the creation of Electronic Art’s simulation game The Sims, people have enjoyed the ability to engage in a virtual world of “what if?” The app that UO Corporate Sponsorship has decided to create is a mock of the popular simulation game The Sims. Like The Sims, users will have the ability to control a character and tailor it to their specifications. The application is called “NikeTown”, which consists of athletes from the University of Oregon. In the app, users have the ability to select, dress, and incorporate the athlete into the world that is Nike.

“NikeTown” is devised so everyone can feel what it is like to have the special privileges of an athlete. “NikeTown” allows its users to even select from different sports in which they wish to have their athlete participate in. Once the user has successfully created their athlete, they are placed into the virtual campus where they can send their athletes to class, the gym, practice, and the game. Based on the users choices, athletes will be placed into real world incidents, both positive and negative. For example the player who picks Garret Sim will be playing in basketball games at the UO while alternating with other schools; a player who picks Lagarret Blount will be playing in football games. This App is similar to the game “FIFA” in the sense that you are picking your player and playing games against other schools to win the season. The purpose of this app, besides the entertainment function, is to allow users to get a virtual look of what it is like to be an athlete, and how their decisions can affect not only themselves, but also the multiple people that look up to them.

The target market of this application ranges from young adults to the college athletes that are featured in it. We believe that the primary audience for the app “NikeTown” is college students and young adults because the UO athletes directly affect them. Students at the U of O get a first hand look at the special treatments athletes receive, and this application would provide for a great enjoyment as a settlement gift. We believe that this application will be a valuable source for our audience because they have the ability to see what a “day in the life of an athlete” is.
This App directly relates to our blog, UOcorporatesponsorship, because we are presenting our readers with the idea that Nike is controlling University of Oregon. This application connects the University of Oregon directly to Nike, by showing the player that the two are molding into one. It gives an insight about the amount of Nike products within the University of Oregon as well as its involvement with the school.
NikeTown is a mock town of the University of Oregon. It has the student athlete center, and the gym as well as other buildings within the university. This application will help our group give the player an idea about Nike’s involvement within the UO.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Final Multimedia

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Poster

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New Offices by Necessity… Right?

Post by: Matt Casey

A recent story released by the Register Guard states that, with the help of Phil Knight, the UO athletic department has plans to build a new football operations center near Autzen stadium. These plans, which will be presented to the State Board of Higher Education on June 4th, require building on the current site of the UO soccer and lacrosse field. The 80,000 square foot proposal would then force the construction of a new soccer and lacrosse facility at a different location.

The new construction is said to be valued “in excess of $5 million,” according to documents submitted to the Oregon University System. This is a price that won’t hurt the athletic department’s pockets. The planned terms are similar to those under which the new John E. Jaqua Academic Center was completed. This means that the football program will have yet another new building to do business in while educational programs will continue to make do. Jeff Hawkins, director of operations for the football program made comments suggesting that the program has been due for new facilities for quite some time.

Hearing the plea for new facilities is interesting when the journalism department’s Allen Hall hasn’t been drastically changed or improved since 1954. Also, Lawrence Hall, the building for Architecture and Allied Arts, has not seen major changes in size since 1941. Whether the football program or academic programs need facilities more is a question that has yet to be answered.

Knight’s donations to the University of Oregon have come for academics as well as athletics, although there have been much more for the latter. The Autzen stadium renovation and expansion, Hayward Field improvements, PK Park baseball stadium and the Matthew Knight Arena construction are all improvements made in athletics over the past ten years. These improvements have been monumental from the standpoint of the Oregon Duck sports fan but they don’t exactly serve for the advancement of academics at the University of Oregon.

College sports have become a huge part of the college function. Not only have they created an activity that many people can participate in, but at times they have also become a supplement to the university income. These are both positives that can be observed in passing judgment on the appropriateness of certain athletic funding in college sports. No, college sports are not the main function of the university, but maybe they eventually do help schools achieve bigger and better things through increased revenue and attraction to the school.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nike’s use of child and slave labor: Questioning the Ethics of Oregon?

by: Alexandra Kuhle

Since 1994 Nike has been outsourcing its labor to factories in third world countries. Some would look to Nike and believe they are helping someone who is unemployed find a job and have a decent income. In 1996, when Time Magazine ran an article about 12 year old Tariq sewing together a Nike soccer ball and only being paid 60 cents, Nike knew they were in trouble. In 1998, child labor activists asked Nike to raise the age requirement of workers they hired to 18. At the time, Nike had been found to employ children as young as eight years old for a wage of 16 cents an hour. The laborers, many under-age, earned about $3 for the $100 shoes that are sold in stores across the world. Nike gave their word that they would monitor their factories out of the U.S., but by no means does that mean Nike actually pulled through on their word.

“Philip Knight, the company chairman, clearly stung by reports of children as young as 10 making shoes, clothing and footballs in Pakistan and Cambodia, attempted to convince Nike’s critics that it had only ever employed children accidentally (admits to mistake).” Using children for labor at Nike factories is more than accidental since it is happening year after year. Although many factories have been found to use underage children the Asian-American Free Labor Institute in Indonesia states, “Nike factory workers file more complaints about wage violations than any other shoe company (Nike Facts).” Nike factory owners also have been known to abuse their workers, lock them in the factories, take away their passports, and not let them return home.

University of Oregon’s association with a company that treats its employees this way is not something to be proud of. In 2000, Oregon students protested that Nike should have random inspections of their factories. Former UO President Dave Frohnmayer agreed to this inspection program at first, however, as soon as Nike heard about the protest, Frohnmayer was called to their headquarters. Nike told the university president that this was unacceptable and that if the inspection program were to go through, its $25 million donation for Autzen stadium would be rescinded. Frohnmayer came back to the university explaining there would be inspections of Nike factories, but the factories would be well informed of the exact date of the inspection. “It was obvious what would happen, if you know the day of the inspection the plant is brought up to wonderful standards on that day,” Chuck Hunt, sociology professor at the UO.

Other Universities such as the University of Washington, University of North Carolina, and UW Madison have stopped dealing with Nike. “The protesters from the Student Labor Action Project at UW were trying to bring attention to $1.5 million in severance they say is owed to apparel workers at Nike factories,” states the Seattle online newspaper.  These schools acknowledge when a company is being unethical. These Universities, as well as others, have terminated their contracts with Nike Does the University of Oregon want to be associated with a company that pays no mind to the mistreatment of their workers? ­­It’s time for Oregon to step up and start thinking about its reputation and what it stands for rather than thinking about the dollar signs.

http://ihscslnews.org/view_article.php?id=32

http://www1.american.edu/TED/nike.htm

Posted in Weekly Blog Posts | Leave a comment

A Detailed Look Into The UO/Nike Contract

By, Kristin Zimber

The relationship between the University of Oregon and Nike is unique. Many Alumni view Nike Inc. and the UO as one organization. Some even nicknamed the UO, “The University of Nike.” Phil Knight’s, (co-founder and CEO of Nike) involvement within the UO is extremely prominent. Nike’s involvement with Oregon athletics helped ease the minds of many sports fans who were concerned with finding the new men’s basketball coach. Nike had taken it upon itself to search for a top-of-the line coach for Oregon’s team. The relationship between Nike and the University of Oregon has increasingly become stronger for every year they have worked together.

Rachel Bachman, a Sports Enterprise reporter for The Oregonian, requested a document between Nike and the UO pertaining to Nike’s use of the UO athletics for marketing purposes. She received a “redacted” version of the agreement from the University of Oregon. Redacted, according to Dictionary.com means, “To make ready for publication; edit or revise.” The redacted version had missing information that Bachman thought was important to her research. She requested a second copy under the Oregon public records law. According to the Oregon public records law, Oregon citizens have “the right to inspect public records.”

The UO claimed the redacted information was a “trade-secret” which was protected information under the Oregon law ORS192.502 that states “certain public records are exempt from disclosure.”  The legal term “trade-secret” according to definitions.uslegal.com, is “a process, method, plan, formula or other information unique to a manufacturer, which has value due to the market advantage over competitors it produces. Use or disclosure of a trade secret by an employee, former employee, or anyone else may be prohibited by a court-ordered injunction.”

The relationship Nike has with the UO is so prominent it has even influenced the university to defend Nikes against the public. It was the university that spoke on behalf of Nike stating the information taken away was “trade-secret” and therefore not attainable. Is the school defending the Nike corporation because of a fear that they will lose their funding? In the past, when students protested Nike’s use of sweatshops in third world countries, the corporation threatened to pull their funding. Even though the protesting was out of the school’s hands, the students were still forced to stop in fear of losing Knight as a sponsor.

Links:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/30870543/Nike-UO-Contract-Appeal-AG-Response

http://www.leg.state.or.us/ors/192.html

http://definitions.uslegal.com/t/trade-secrets/

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/redacted+

http://www.usatoday.com/sports/college/mensbasketball/bigeast/2005-02-18-uconn-nike_x.htm

Posted in Weekly Blog Posts | Leave a comment