FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A candidate for Fayetteville City Council Ward 3 asked the Fayetteville head basketball coach to recruit athlete volunteers for his campaign.

Through a Freedom of Information Act Request, KNWA/FOX24 obtained emails from City Council Ward 3 candidate Scott Berna where he asked Fayetteville head basketball coach Brad Stamps for volunteers to help distribute door hangers for his campaign. Berna also referenced in the emails, that if the student athletes volunteered, in exchange for their time, he would make a donation to the team.

The email chain made it onto social media where many people expressed concern to the school.

The community said they found it distasteful that minors may have been influenced by a person in a position of power.

Berna said his actions are allowed by the Arkansas Ethics Commission since he fully disclosed them on campaign reports.

Berna said his opponents are “trying to make this an issue just before the election,” and that it’s “nothing but a cheap smear tactic.”

Berna’s opponent Sloan Scroggin says he thinks Berna’s action was “inappropriate,” but that he doesn’t believe he intended to put the athletes in a comprising position.

Fayetteville Public Schools Communications Director Alan Wilbourn says it appears this was a miscommunication and it’s being investigated.

“The school district does not endorse or oppose any political candidate or ballot issue,” Wilbourn said.