University president Richard Larivere’s push for financial transparency is getting the attention of the Oregon attorney general’s office, but many concerns raised early on were recently disproven.
While students at the University of Oregon took their midterms and studied for classes, major elements of their relationship with Nike transformed drastically. Attorney General John Kroger ruled on April 26th that the University must disclose its financial dealings with the clothing and shoe superpower. This overturned the ruling of the previous AG, Hardy Myers, who referred to their relationship as a “trade secret”.
A trade secret is anything which is more financially viable being known than unknown, thus making it a secret. In the UO case, due to a citizen’s request and ethical concerns over the terms of the Athletic Director’s departure, Kroger deemed the probing necessary.
$2.3 million was recently attributed to AD Mike Bellotti in severance fees despite the lack of a written contract between Bellotti and the university. However, Kroger denied the charges against the school as the entirety of the money will be covered by private donors, not from taxpayers’ pockets.
The disclosure revealed also that the contract with Nike was not eye-widening. The $22.7 million eight-year deal was well within the normal range, and even fell well below some other eight-year contracts. The University of North Carolina, in fact, signed a 10 year deal with Nike last year for $37.7 million.
Questions remain. While the Bellotti decision has been made and settled, the Jaqua Center’s opening this year and Matthew Knight’s next year crowd an already insufficient student parking situation. It seems that the issue with Phil Knight’s place on campus may not just be his cash flow, but more importantly, the impact he has on campus.
This week, Lariviere offered solutions to one issue of corporate sponsorship on campus, while one looms on the near horizon.