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Nike May Give Aid To PBHA Program

By Paul K. Nitze

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.

If affiliated with Nike, PBHA would simply help to recruit coaches. Students not affiliated with PBHA are welcome to apply directly to Nike now, Hockman said.

Despite PBHA's hesitance to join forces with Nike on the project, Gabrielson said there has been a lot of support from Harvard for the program already.

"Ballpark, I would say upwards of 50 students [responded], which on the scale of things means Harvard is leading the way for Boston schools," she said.

Silverman coaches a youth soccer program for Nike and Schneller coaches youth ice skating.

Soccer, basketball, tennis and football are among some of the other sports which volunteers can coach, Gabrielson said.

The application process to become a volunteer coach involves several steps, Gabrielson said. The first step is to send an application to Nike. If the application is accepted, Gabrielson said Nike will offer the students coaching positions in the area.

"[The program requires] a written application, a letter of recommendation, a transcript and what's called a local match," she said. "Once they send in an application, they secure placement coaching in a local boys' and girls' club or a YMCA, for example."

Coaches are expected to volunteer 80 to 100 hours over the course of a season, and will receive a $500 stipend toward their tuition from Nike.

Hochman, who rowed in the 1988 Olympics, said she developed the PLAY CORPS program at Nike by modeling it after experiences she had while sponsoring athletics among black children in South Africa.

According to Hochman, organizations from Boston College, Northeastern, Boston University and MIT have already become involved in the project

"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.

If affiliated with Nike, PBHA would simply help to recruit coaches. Students not affiliated with PBHA are welcome to apply directly to Nike now, Hockman said.

Despite PBHA's hesitance to join forces with Nike on the project, Gabrielson said there has been a lot of support from Harvard for the program already.

"Ballpark, I would say upwards of 50 students [responded], which on the scale of things means Harvard is leading the way for Boston schools," she said.

Silverman coaches a youth soccer program for Nike and Schneller coaches youth ice skating.

Soccer, basketball, tennis and football are among some of the other sports which volunteers can coach, Gabrielson said.

The application process to become a volunteer coach involves several steps, Gabrielson said. The first step is to send an application to Nike. If the application is accepted, Gabrielson said Nike will offer the students coaching positions in the area.

"[The program requires] a written application, a letter of recommendation, a transcript and what's called a local match," she said. "Once they send in an application, they secure placement coaching in a local boys' and girls' club or a YMCA, for example."

Coaches are expected to volunteer 80 to 100 hours over the course of a season, and will receive a $500 stipend toward their tuition from Nike.

Hochman, who rowed in the 1988 Olympics, said she developed the PLAY CORPS program at Nike by modeling it after experiences she had while sponsoring athletics among black children in South Africa.

According to Hochman, organizations from Boston College, Northeastern, Boston University and MIT have already become involved in the project

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