The cozy relationship between Baltimore-based Under Armour and Maryland's athletic department could have the Terrapins treading in "dangerous water."
The Washington Post reports that Lance Stephenson, a basketball player from Brooklyn who is being courted by Maryland, was given a tour of the athletic apparel company during a recent recruiting visit to College Park. That would appear to be a big no-no and here's why:
Chief executive Kevin Plank is a former Terrapin football player and member of the school's Board of Trustees. That means the NCAA considers him a "representative of the institution's athletics interests," commonly known as a booster. Under Armour is acknowledged by Maryland as a member of its "Legends" benefactor group, meaning it has donated more than $1 million to the university.
Tim Parker, Virginia Tech's senior assistant director of athletics for compliance, told the newspaper that Maryland was "treading in some dangerous water there."
Plank founded Under Armour in 1996 with a line of football undershirts that would not retain moisture. The company's business model is patterned after Nike and one of the company's first memorable television advertisements featured Terrapin coach Ralph Friedgen exhorting his team to "protect this house."
In September, Under Armour announced a five-year, $17.5 million deal that made Maryland the nation's only school to outfit all its teams with the company's apparel. The company is the official outfitter for 10 college football programs.