UNC Officials To Unveil Nike All-Sports Deal

Department of Athletics officials previously have said stricter labor code stipulations might be included in the new contract.

UNC officials will announce the University's new all-sports agreement with the Nike Corp. this afternoon, finalizing what likely will be one of the largest contracts of its kind.

Chancellor James Moeser and Director of Athletics Dick Baddour will offer details about the multi-million dollar contract and the process leading up to it.

The new contract extends the University's 10-year relationship with Nike and renews the current five-year all-sports agreement, with some changes. The current contract, which expires at the end of the school year, provides all 28 UNC varsity sports with Nike uniforms, practice gear, shoes and some equipment.

Baddour originally had hoped to finish up with the recontracting process last spring, but he said last month that talks of labor standards contributed to the process's delay.

The current contract does not include stipulations on factory worker conditions because the University had not yet adopted a labor code when the contract was drafted in 1997.

Baddour has said the inclusion of labor standards was a large priority in the recontracting process for both UNC and Nike.

Director of Athletic Communications Steve Kirschner said the University community will be pleased with the new contract's balance of labor standards and financial benefit. "When people see the contract, they'll see it's both fiscally responsible and socially responsible."

Since 1997, students have actively protested UNC's ties with Nike and other companies that reportedly manufacture products in overseas labor sweatshops.

Students for Economic Justice has been at the head of the protest front in recent years. Junior SEJ member Courtney Sproule said that while the group has demanded that UNC terminate its contract with Nike in the past, she is not wholly against a new contract as long as it includes definitive stipulations on worker conditions. "The best we can do is advocate for the contract to include a stiff code of conduct," she said.

UNC General Counsel Sue Ehringhaus, who was part of the recontracting team, also said she is pleased with the new contract's inclusion of labor standards. "We wanted this to make a statement, and so did Nike, about what we stood for."

The University Editor can be reached at udesk@unc.edu.

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