Nike May Give Aid To PBHA Program

Nike is extending its influence at Harvard beyond merely what is covering students' feet.

The company has asked Cambridge Youth Association (CYA), a Phillips Brooks House Association (PBHA) program, to help recruit volunteer coaches for youth sports.

If CYA--which already teaches ice skating and soccer to local youths--agrees, it would coordinate with Nike's Participate in the Lives of America's Youth (PLAY) program, which is recruiting volunteer coaches around the Boston area, according to Eric Gabrielson, who works for Nike's PLAY CORPS, a division of PLAY.

"To date we have over 100 coaches in five cities, and by next year we hope to have 1,000 coaches in 10 cities," Gabrielson said.

PLAY CORPS plans to advertise in local papers and team up with local papers and team up with local student organizations and youth leagues to recruit student coaches, Gabrielson said.


Juliet Hochman '89, the director of Nike's PLAY CORPS, met last Wednesday with Roy E. Bahat '98, president of PBHA, and co-heads of PBHA's Cambridge Youth Program Rachel E. Schneller '98 and Matthew P. Silverman '98 to go over plans to include PBHA in the project.

But Silverman said PBHA has not yet committed to any involvement with Nike.

"She introduced the program to us and was trying to sell the program to our PBHA sub-committee, which is the Cambridge Youth Program," Silverman said. "We did not commit to anything at that meeting, and have not met yet as a committee to talk about it."

Silverman said that some members of PBHA may be wary of associating with Nike because the group has a long history of independence from other organizations, corporate or otherwise.

"In our decision, we're going to have to consider the potential benefits [Nike] could provide to students and local coaches, versus potential down-sides of getting involved with the corporation," he said.

Hochman said Nike does not want to conflict with PBHA's original mission.

"Nike gets its clout in a lot of other ways," Hochman said. "It doesn't need to get it from kids."

Silverman said that Cambridge Youth Program volunteers who want to participate in PLAY CORPS will not have to make any concessions to Nike in their coaching duties.

"The coach will not have to wear the clothing that they provide and will not have to use the equipment that they provide," he said. "There are no rules forcing people to promote the Nike logo."

Hochman said that although PLAY CORPS is not a PBHA program, it would benefit the organization.

"It can only supplement what they do in PBHA," she said.

Recommended Articles