Albemarle Athletics Coach Contracts for Free Gear

Some Albemarle high school coaches are getting free athletic gear after inking deals with sporting goods vendors, Sharon Fitzgerald writes in The Daily Progress. The athletic departments at AHS, WAHS, and MHS all signed contracts with vendors without first vetting the agreements with the school system. AHS’s coach athletic director signed up with Adidas, agreeing to buy $30,000 worth of their products each year for the next three years, and agreeing that the teams would wear that gear “when possible.” WAHS’s coach athletic director signed with Russell Athletic, in a contract with no end date, for a 35% discount. And MHS coach athletic director Fitzgerald Barnes signed the most unusual agreement: for two years, they’d buy only Under Armour products—for which they get a 40% discount—and agree to exclusively use Under Armor products, with the coach personally getting $10,000 in free products each year, and other coaches getting a combined $5,000 in free products.

It’s one thing for coaches athletic directors to be entering into unauthorized agreements, but it’s quite another for them to be personally enriched by those agreements. That’s precisely why such agreements are to be approved by the school system—such a kickback would never have been permitted.

04/18 Update: The proper job title for the individuals in question is “athletic director.” Although they might be coaches, there are coaches at each school who are not also athletic directors.

24 thoughts on “Albemarle Athletics Coach Contracts for Free Gear”

  1. I find this whole story kind of suspicious. Knowing some of the coaches to be very ethical and caring greatly for the kids, I wonder if this was a misunderstanding between the school administrators and the school board. To imagine a single coach inking this kind of deal without first going through the Athletic Director and school principal sounds highly unlikely. I’d love to hear follow-up to this story, specifically a response to the story from the schools and coaches.

  2. It does seem extraordinary that three separate schools would all sign very similar contracts, none of them vetted by the school system. They couldn’t have all independently decided to do such a thing, I wouldn’t think.

  3. A couple of things interesting to me:

    I find it interesting that I’m sure they all talk with each other and with athletic directors at other schools in their VHSL districts and this is more common among high schools than you would think. When I played high school sports (cue Abe Simpson voice), our coaches and other players on my team encouraged one brand of apparel so we would look like a “team” and I’m sure my parents would have killed for a 35-40% discount on outrageously priced athletic gear.

    It’s also interesting that all three signed with different apparel companies, and none of them are Nike, which outfits UVA’s varsity teams.

  4. No coach signed off on this. It is signed off by the AD and so the coaches have no conflict. However, what the coaches will be receiving is gear for the team. They are not actually getting a bunch of goodies for themselves, but for the team. Training gear. Helmets. Agility ladders. Balls. Sure the coach might get a free pair of warmups with the school logo. But hey, since they make about $2/hour to put up with all they must put up with I am sure this is something we should make a BIG FREAKING DEAL ABOUT.

    This is routine, normal, basic within all sporting systems. And if it allows the schools to get good, new gear for better prices…I fial to see the dilemma.

    So lets get it right. No coach entered into any deal and they are not getting personally enriched.

    BTW, is Michelle paying retail for her $540 sneakers or $1000 handbags?

  5. Chris, I wondered too, then I realized…Michelle Obama. Apparently this local story provides an irresistable opportunity for a fling at the First Lady.

    Perhaps Danpri should take his complaint about this complaint to the (right-leaning) Albemarle Truth in Taxation group. They appear to be the ones who instigated the investigation. They probably agree with Danpri about “Michelle,” but not, somehow, about county schools’ coaches.

  6. DOH! I don’t disagree with either the ADs or Michelle. I make the swipe at Michelle as this is a very left leaning site and so I just wish some balance.

    If Michelle wants to help a favorite designer and get some clothes at a nice rate, more power to her as it is simply a basic way of doing business in the industry. Much like a sporting line with sports.

    I say swipe away at those who do not seek balance in how they expect others to act. Me, I have been noticing more and more that many on the left are getting upset at any jab taken at the White House. Then they jump in their Prius with the anti Bush bumper sticker and drive off.

  7. This is rediculous. All the AD’s are doing is trying to stretch their Athletic Funds as far as they can. I am pretty sure that the Monticello deal was in the news a few years ago as they were getting praised for making such a deal. I can’t beleive that the school board didn’t know anything about it. Don’t any of their children play sports? This looks like a witch hunt for someone’s political gain.

  8. I think the distinction between “coach” and “athletic director” is an important one. Had I thought this through more closely, I would have made that distinction up front. That’s a correction that I’ve made here.

    How in the world this became about the first lady—or politics—I don’t have the faintest idea.

  9. That’s not balance. It’s a non-sequitur. Also it’s irrelevant.

    If the ADs are entering into contracts to procure equipment and that equipment meets appropriate standards I don’t think I have a real issue with this.

  10. So when do the orchestra, band, and choral conductors get approached with corporate deals for menswear and dresses for their groups at 35%-40% off?

  11. Barbara Myer, maybe when they perform in front of large crowds every weekend for months on end?

  12. There’s the way we might wish the world worked — people crowding into choral concerts instead of football games, thousands of children aspiring to be orchestra conductors rather than baseball players — and then there’s the way the world actually works. I wouldn’t fault high-school (or college) ADs from contracting with a sportswear company’s for discounted goods in exchange for the publicity/advertising opportunity just because our culture doesn’t value music, art, and literature as much as it does sports.

  13. Clearly I need to research and then employ the “ironic” emoticon when commenting.

    Is there an “ironic” emoticon?

  14. This only issue I have with this is that the ADs (or Coaches or whoever) didn’t really get the best deals possible.

    Looks are the facts: The manufacturers are using divide and conquer techniques on the various schools (one school with Adidas, another with Russell Athletic, and a third with Under Armour). I’d be willing to bet a $1 that if all three schools would work together (and increase they overall purchasing power), all three schools would each get a much better overall deal.

    All this shows is that manufacturers are prepare to pay (and pay well) just for the possibility of steering parents of student athletes to certain manufacturers. Albemarle County (and quite frankly, the entire region) should really use this fact and collaborate in order to negotiate a much better deal.

  15. This comment does not apply to Barbara Myer or Walco Jacquith. It is amazing the number of crooks out there. You jokers are willing to overlook illegal behavior because somebody else is doing it. I’m willing to bet that you fools are always complaining to the cop that pulled you over for speeding the he should be out there catching murders rather than bothering people speeding. You show no respect for the law whatsoever.
    @danpri, you are not adding balance to this site. It is sad that you think your stupid statements balance out Waldo’s intelligent ones. I believe you have said that you own some kind of rag-tag business. Are you saying that you allow people to steal from you because they steal from other people?
    Also, the ADs do not purchase anything for the school system. That is done the officer of procurement in school systems. To all of you idiots, it you a replying to my comments, don’t bother. I will not read any more idiotic comments on this thread, Cumbos.

  16. I wonder if the Truth and Taxation Aliance will issue an apology to these folks now that the AD’s have not violated any rules certainly nothing illegal. We put so much faith and responsibility for our children’s well being in these folk’s hands but turn around and humiliate them for trying to save people money. This is not the way people should treat each other in our community.

    I fear that we are turning into No. Va more and more each day.

  17. FF, While I think this whole story is/was a non-story once you got below the headline you raise an interesting point.
    Our school systems contract with a variety of vendors, some of whom provide crappy service but do provide some cash. School picture vendors pay money up front and hope to recoup it on the backs of the students. And they do or they would not be coming back. Same with the class ring people. Even worse the gift wrap/candy that the force on the middle schools.I’ll bet that if the AD’s did the buying for school pics we would do better than the deal they cut with the national chains.

  18. The WAHS kids got screwed. Russel Athletic for only a 35% discount! They should be getting paid to wear that crap.

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