by Jeff Taylor
As noted journalist Ed Anger used to say, I’m pig bitin’ mad.
Today the Uptown paper of record splashes a front-page spread on the woeful facility conditions that the Independence football team routinuely ignores while fielding one of the best teams in the nation. CMS building honcho Guy Chamberlain says that the conditions are the result of voters rejecting the $427 million bond in 2005 — so basically this is CMS’ We Ain’t Got No Money argument applied to sports. Big frickin’ surprise from CMS’ A1 ace status quo guy, Guy.
Except that CMS could have had more money for Independence but turned it down in April. This is little fact is completely missing from reporter David Scott’s account of the intersection of sports and money at CMS.
Recall that Nike wanted to ink Independence and coach Tom Knotts to a sponsorship deal. Not a lot, but a few thousand dollars worth of uniforms and equipment. This is becoming standard practice for the top HS football teams in the nation. South Carolina’s Duncan Byrnes, for example, inked a four-year, “head-to-toe” deal with Nike in August. Nike finds value in associating itself with winners and the programs get free stuff. It is called a win-win.
From there boster clubs and school systems are relieved of the need to raise and apply some amount of money to pay for what Nike supplies for free. Money is, therefore, freed up to pay for other things, like facility upgrades. Simple, everybody undertands that.
CMS told Knotts and Independence that it could not accept the Nike deal, valued at perhaps $10,000. CMS did not want individual schools making their own deals, so any money had to be routed through the Ed Center as is typical CMS neo-stalinist practice. Needless to say Nike did not fork over any money to the Ed Center.
When the Rhino Times asked incoming superintendent Peter Gorman about that decision in July, Gorman said he would have to look hard at those kinds of deals. The full exchange:
RT: Earlier this year, CMS passed on an offer from Nike to sponsor the Independence High School football team. Do you think the district should revisit that decision?
PG: I don’t know the facts behind it, but I’ve never been a huge fan of sponsorship. But maybe we’re sending people a mixed message. Do we sell Coke or Pepsi products? We go that route, some times. I don’t know, I’ve never been asked a question about sponsoring a team before.
I wonder if somebody would be willing to sponsor the whole district? It’s great to sponsor Independence because, frankly, they’re winning right now. But is there a piece of the pie for someone – I mean, we’ve got to have somebody who’s downtrodden. We’ve got to have a 1-10 program out there. I wonder if they’d sponsor them? I don’t know. I’ve never been faced with that before.
What’s the proper role we should play in protecting our kids from commercialism and introducing our kids to commercialism? I don’t know. But I’m looking for money. I don’t know what was involved with that. Boy, I’d have to sleep on that one.
Alright, it is December now. Do something, Pete, even if it is not firing Guy “Status Quo” Chamberlain. The Uptown paper of record has done one of its official Spur Government to Action pieces. Editorial sure to follow. That’s how things work around here. You are on the clock, Pete.
Come Monday, the Patriots should get their Nike money as a reward for yet another state title. At least they would in a remotely sane world.