Auburn's Under Armour Deal Questioned As Possible Detriment To Basketball Recruiting
Auburn F Allen Payne on Thursday wrote on his Twitter account the men's basketball team "will struggle as long as we are under Under Armour," according to Colin McGowan of SPORTS ON EARTH. McGowan writes, "I’m pretty sure he means Auburn’s association with Under Armour sinks it by making it nigh impossible to recruit top high school talent." The "line of thinking" is that because Nike and adidas "sponsor a slew of the most prominent basketball camps, tournaments and AAU teams, they have a hand in steering the best young players toward programs ... with which their companies are affiliated." UA is "a second-tier basketball brand." It is "not that UA doesn’t sponsor the same sorts of things the bigger companies do, but it doesn’t have the foothold in the marketplace that Nike or Adidas has." UA "probably came to Auburn with an interest in being the chosen brand of Auburn Football, and because these types of deals are athletic department-wide, it also outfits the basketball team." This has had the "unintended consequence of dooming the basketball program, which wasn’t particularly good in the first place" (SPORTSONEARTH.com, 3/14). Basketball HOFer Charles Barkley said that he wanted Auburn "to change its apparel affiliation for basketball" from UA to Nike. Former Auburn coach Tony Barbee, prior to being fired by the school on Wednesday, said, "The only problem I have with the Auburn program right now is we're not a Nike school. I've had some conversations with [AD Jay Jacobs], I think we need to separate from the football program and go with Nike. ... I would love to see Auburn switch to Nike on the basketball side of it." In Alabama, James Crepea notes the shoe and apparel deal has been "a major bone of contention for many within the basketball program privately" (MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER, 3/14).