Should our local school district be sending checks to Texas?

Published 9:11 am Thursday, October 7, 2021

To the editor:

My name is Ray Simpson, I am the sales manager for Rex Sporting Goods (RSG). We are the largest Independent Team Sporting Goods Dealer in the State of Mississippi. Plus, we are the largest Adidas Team dealer in the States of Mississippi, Lousiana, and Alabama.

RSG has been in the school business for 50+ years and during that time we have supported all the local high schools in some form. Thru the years we have bought Sport Programs, donated Baseballs to their programs, given warehouse inventory to local schools, joined Booster clubs, bought signs for Athletic Fields, and have delivered needed items to local Schools ASAP with NO freight with a simple phone call!

So, it comes as a huge surprise when our local public school district signs a deal with a national company named BSN and agree to send their checks to Dallas, Texas rather than spend their tax dollars locally. Granted, some districts do not have the luxury of having a very respected sporting goods dealer in their hometown. They have to shop around. But this is not the situation. We represent Adidas, Russell Athletic, Wilson, Garb Athletics, Rawlings, Augusta Sports, Badger Sports, A4 Sports and many other manufacturers.

There are promo accounts available for schools for free goods. I have always just given that merchandise to coaches with no contracts. But if the school wanted a contract then we could do that also.

The district decision to strike a deal with a national company and not even give the local team dealer an opportunity to participate in the negotiations is not right or fair. We pay taxes in Natchez, Adams County, Mississippi, regularly and all of our staff are from the Natchez or Vidalia area. We are big time in the sporting goods business and only 3 to 4 blocks away from the NACSD Administration Office. We could understand if this is due to less superior merchandise, prices, and service, but it is not.

On many occasions a local school has called and in a bind for an item and we have to them in 30 minutes or less.

Rex Team Sports is ADIDAS. It is hard for me to believe that the kids are all screaming for Nike to the point of dropping RSG completely. Coaches make those decisions. I still can’t understand why a dealer with 40 years of service is not even offered an opportunity to negotiate a contract with the school district.

My relationship with coaches is more than a business deal. With most, I have become very good friends. This business is very difficult and the pandemic has really caused us some grief, so it hurts that a school leaves us with no explanation at all, and I do not get an opportunity to participate in the negotiations at all.

It has become very clear that the word “loyalty” is no longer a word used to describe a relationship between the local school district and the local team dealer.

What has BSN done that completely makes the local dealer null and void? Or better yet, what did Rex Sporting Goods do to be cast away completely?

Ray Simpson

Sales manager, Rex Sporting Goods