Auburn forward Allen Payne blames Under Armour

Submitted by Leaders And Best on March 13th, 2014 at 12:05 PM

Auburn senior forward Allen Payne on Under Armour:


I can say this now... We'll struggle as long as we are under Under Armour.

— Lucky Lefty (@AllenPayne2_) March 13, 2014

Someone tried to fisk me on this several weeks ago (I think it was one of the dudes from 247Sports' Michigan site), but I hope we stay far away from Under Armour in our next apparel contract negotiations. Under Armour is at a competitive disadvantage in basketball. May not matter to Notre Dame because their basketball team sucks, but I don't want to see that at Michigan. Add in the speedskating controversy, and it has not been a good month for Under Armour.



March 13th, 2014 at 12:06 PM ^

I thought it had to do w/ the fact that in basketball, the AAU teams are affiliated w/ apparel companies and therefore, it's harder to get in w/ certain AAU teams if your college is not affiliated w/ the same apparel company.


March 13th, 2014 at 12:18 PM ^

Maybe I am missing something, but what exactly is he talking about? Are the UA uni's causing them to miss open jumpers or lose some vertical leaping ability? 

Seriously, I am confused. I know about the Olympic stuff, but what's the deal here?

Leaders And Best

March 13th, 2014 at 12:31 PM ^

1. Recruiting (most likely): Nike and adidas are embedded in the AAU circuit and invested more in basketball to this point. Most elite basketball recruits historically have not played for Under Armour schools. He may be referring to the fact that Under Armour schools cannot attract basketball talent. Maybe it is coinicidence, but Maryland basketball has taken a nosedive since the switch (and Maryland is the "Oregon" of Under Armour).

2.Shoes: Their shoes may be substandard compared to Nike and Adidas. Under Armour is just breaking into the shoe market and has a lot of ground to make up as it was not one of their core products when they formed. Shoes are probably the most important product an apparel company provides the university. I think this is less likely but also a concern. Under Armour's target demo for most of its company history has been middle aged men and outdoorsmen.


March 13th, 2014 at 1:01 PM ^

Under Armour's target demo for most of its company history has been middle aged men and outdoorsmen.

What? Those "We must protect this house" ads they used to run - you thought they were geared at middle-aged men?

Go to any high school and you see a ton of kids wearing UA gear. That company has managed to gain a lot of traction with the youth demographic, more than a lot of established companies have. It hasn't really established itself regarding footwear in particular, but otherwise their apparel does a lot of business with kids.  I would fine going to UA if they were the top bidder.


Leaders And Best

March 13th, 2014 at 1:18 PM ^

Their ads are targeting new demographics to expand, but their main demo has been middle aged men for most of the company's lifetime. Their product has been historically expensive which caused a lot of teens stay away.

If you want to read this you can:


March 13th, 2014 at 1:25 PM ^

The notion of teenagers avoiding a brand because it's "too expensive" is . . . interesting.  Kids must hate Air Jordans then.

Under Armour was founded by an ex-college football player in his 20's.  It has always marketed itself as gear for serious athletes.  That doesn't really scream "middle-aged brand" to me.  They are at any rate selling a lot of product to kids now.  




Leaders And Best

March 13th, 2014 at 1:52 PM ^

Respect your personal experience, but I will take the word of the company that did a market research report on Under Armour. Under Armour does have a segment of their demo that is competitive athletes (like most large atheltic apparel companies) and their product is viewed as high performance gear--but like I said before, most of their demo has been middle aged males. It doesn't mean that only middle aged males are buying the product.

And yes, price can be a deterrent for teens (especially when parents have to buy the product). Air Jordans are comparing apples to oranges. Compare to your standard training shoe or basketball shorts.


March 13th, 2014 at 12:43 PM ^

the olympic stuff was a bad excuse for a bunch of the athletes, they went back to the old uniforms and raced even worse.  Maryland has brought in back to back top 10 recruiting classes in basketball with top 50 players both years, you can recruit fine with any apparel, auburn just sucks at basketball.


March 13th, 2014 at 3:34 PM ^

Something, though, was very wrong with that entire speedskating team. I don't know if it was the suits, but, I mean, speedskating and swimming would seem to be two places where the suits certainly can make a difference. The whole thing was very weird, but results definitely did not match very reasonable expectations stemming from just about every other competition those athletes had participated in pre-suits. 

Maybe it was the water in Sochi, the air, the ice, who knows, but something was fucked up. 


March 13th, 2014 at 1:14 PM ^

A large number of German people were members of, or supported, the Nazi party at one time or another.  The fact that it was the only legal political party in Germany for several years had a lot to do with that.  Adidas in any event signed Jesse Owens to a shoe deal anyway.





March 13th, 2014 at 12:20 PM ^

I've posted about this before. We need to get back to Nike. It hurt us big time with Booker. Nike pays AAU coaches more/less depending in if their featured player goes to a Nike school. Most top AAU programs are Nike. There were a few articles about how surprising it was that Kam Chatman chose an Adidas school. There are some other exceptions (Wiggins), but I wouldn't count on those consistently. It's dirty, but you have play the game.



March 13th, 2014 at 12:33 PM ^

Yes, if we only wore a different brand of shoe, we could be like one of those elite programs that goes to the Final Four and wins outright conference championships.  Er, hold on.

Leaders And Best

March 13th, 2014 at 12:42 PM ^

adidas is a bigger problem in football. adidas' university portfolio is almost all basketball schools: Kansas, Indiana, UCLA, Louisville, Michigan, Cincinnati, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Baylor, Texas A&M, NC State, and Mississippi State.

I don't think adidas is the reason Michigan football has tanked since 2008, but I also don't think it helps.


March 13th, 2014 at 12:52 PM ^

And yet, Brady Hoke seems to have little trouble bringing in highly-rated classes.  If this is even a "concern," it ranks about 50th on the list of things we need to address with the football program.  

Back to basketball, a lot of people here would do well to sit back and enjoy the show, and not constantly search for things to criticize.  We've had numerous threads about how Crisler isn't a good enough home environment, despite the fact that we have the Big Ten's best home record over the past three years.  And we have people constantly fretting about recruiting, worrying about shoe brands and such, despite the fact that Beilein has shown a fantastic ability to both identify and coach up talent.  Michigan basketball is in a good place.  






March 13th, 2014 at 12:41 PM ^

I don't know all the ins and outs of AAU, but why do players have to stay loyal to their former coaches when they are entering college? Once you get a scholarship, hasn't a players need for the AAU system passed? Is it just loyalty to these coaches or are there behind the scenes deals that the player must fulfill? This whole system gets more shady by the day.

Leaders And Best

March 13th, 2014 at 12:46 PM ^

It's how all companies build brand dominance. If you grow up eating the same brand of cereal, it is likely you will continue to buy from that company. Kids in the AAU circuit grow up playing with Nike or Adidas apparel. Maybe their AAU coaches take them to Nike or adidas schools for basketball camps where the players get more comfortable with those coaches and university. It doesn't have to be THE reason a recruit picks a college, but it could be a positive in the eye of a recruit when weighing the decision.


March 13th, 2014 at 3:43 PM ^

things may be different today (although I still can't wear Nike non-bkb sneakers because they are just too narrow), but when I played, you had a shoe company you liked and felt comfortable with. All the guys I played with were pretty much the same way. 

Basketball is all about bounce and about keeping your ankles intact. It may be mental, but it doesn't seem that unusual for a kid to like a particular brand of shoe. 


March 13th, 2014 at 1:08 PM ^

The NBA is Adidas and some of the top recruits still go to Adidas schools (Kansas, UCLA, etc).  Half of the Final Four last year was Adidas.  4 of the top ten picks in the NBA draft were Adidas (5 Nike, 1 UA).  It seems like 80-90% of schools are Nike so Nike is losing the war when it comes to recruits, draft picks and wins.  I'm not sure Beilein even wants the one and done type of player anyway.  I'd take a team full of juniors and seniors who have been coached up over a Calipari team if you care about winning consistently.


March 13th, 2014 at 12:29 PM ^

Wow I had NO idea this was going on.  For real - your uniform contract plays a role in recruiting?  Glad to see the NCAA isnt paying any attention to this obvious form of legalized cheating whatsoever.

How is this any different than if a booster greased an AAU coach for every kid they funnelled to a school?  It 's just an apparel company doing the payment instead of an individual.

MI Expat NY

March 13th, 2014 at 1:26 PM ^

Do you have a proposal?  I'm not sure what you do to stop this, or even if it's something that should be stopped.  The shoe companies aren't interested in promoting a specific school, they're interested in promoting their shoes.  What they hope to do is get the next MJ, Kobe, LeBron, etc. to have a permanent, profitable relationship with their shoes.  So they invest in kids early and hope that the investment keeps the kid with a college sponsored by the same shoe company and eventually, when the kid turns pro, they sign a sponsorship deal with the player that benefits both player and shoe company.  

If it seems scummy, it's only because the shoe companies have to pretend that these basketball players are amateurs.  If colleges gave up their exclusive deals with shoe companies than there would be no guiding of players to "adidas schools" or "nike schools."  But, I bet you can guess the odds of that happening.