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School Board Refuses Adidas a Foot in the Door

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CHAPEL HILL — Chapel Hill-Carrboro school leaders rejected a gift from Adidas Thursday night. The sporting goods company offered the package after standout Chris Hobbs, an East Chapel Hill high school basketball player, agreed to attend a camp it sponsored.

The school board voted 5-1 to reject the 18 warm-up suits, 24 pairs of shoes and other items valued at a total of $2,319.

Roger Waldon, who cast the only vote in favor of accepting the gift, said he did not think "anything dishonorable had been done."

Board members said they were concerned accepting the gift could create the appearance of an endorsement.

Harvey Goldstein worried the gift could give the company a foot in the door. "[Shoe companies] have taken part in documented practices that have led to corruption at the college level, and now they are trying to do the same thing at the high school and even middle school level," Goldstein said.

The gift also would create an even greater gap between the district's two high schools, and between girls' and boys' programs, board members said.

The team's student manager disagreed with the decision.

"Instead of us being able to use these goods, now our parents are going to have to shell out the money for them and we're going to have to have fundraisers," David Margolis said.

"I'm not sure if I want Chapel Hill-Carrboro schools to set a precedent," said school board member Bea Hughes-Werner. "Especially over $2,300. We are not a particularly poor district."

School board members also worried young players would feel even more pressure to attend the sponsored camps, hoping to bring home donations for their schools.

Student-athletes are already tempted to attend the camps because they want to impress coaches from prestigious universities able to offer scholarships. The sportswear companies use the young players to attract coaches to the camps.

From Staff and wire reports

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