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The Under Armour-Lance Stephenson Story (Update)

(Update: A Maryland official told me the school will be making a statement at some point in the next few hours. I will post it here.)

Hello, this is Eric Prisbell. I wanted to share a few thoughts on today’s story about Under Armour’s relationship with Lance Stephenson. First, I wanted to thank everyone for the many emails and text messages we have received today. I appreciate everyone’s comments, and I respect everyone’s passion. I have always believed it is important to shine a light on the AAU-shoe company world because those issues often get underreported nationally. They are important issues. As I have said before, I plan to do extensive coverage of AAU-related issues this spring and summer (as soon as the Final Four is over). There is nothing more I would like to do than examine the recruiting practices and AAU-shoe company ties at several other top college programs in the country. If anyone has thoughts on where I should turn first this spring and summer, please email me. If anyone has any questions, comments or any other feedback about today’s story or anything related to the AAU and shoe company landscape, please either email me at or my partner Steve Yanda at Thanks a lot.

By Eric Prisbell  |  March 1, 2009; 3:00 PM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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Next: UMD Athletic Department's Statement Regarding Recruiting Story


Nike = Oregon. Why that connection (geographically) was only vaguely mentioned in the article is a farce.

Posted by: dc_homer | March 1, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

I didn't think the article was all that critical of Maryland. But that whole shoe-company business is a hornet's nest. Anybody could stir it up and get stung. Nike, Reebok, Adidas, UnderArmour -- be a better world if all of them disappeared tomorrow.

Crotchety, crotchety.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 1, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Why no mention of JTIII's father being on the Nike Board of Directors, prisbell your not gaining any readers just losing them

Posted by: fzuylen | March 1, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse


Is this the first high school phenom who has ever talked with a shoe company? The article, coupled with earlier ones, must make it tough for the Terps to recruit. I know you are just trying to do your job, and as long as the Stephenson visit is pretty unique, I guess you had every reason to write your story. The article quoted the father saying that the Under-Armour shoe "sucks" which means that there can't be a whole lot of influence being exerted on the kid. If the Terps are cleared, will you have a major story on that?

Posted by: EdDC | March 1, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

As far as I could tell from the article, there was no wrong doing on the part of Plank or MD - or at least no facts were given. (Rather, no facts are there.)

Why then do we have anonymous sources that "know about the situation"? Why then do we have Sonny Vacarro making innuendos? Oh it seems so dastardly!!!

I would much rather you write articles with facts, instead of leaving the article open to interpretation. That is not covering a news story, it is making one.

Posted by: kozora | March 1, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Is there live streaming video of the game anywhere?

Posted by: CYork1 | March 1, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Good things most recruits aren't smart enough to read the Washington Post ;-)

I have to say, having had a lengthy email exchange with Prisbell today, and having reread the article it looks to me as this is the start of a much broader look at all the underhanded AAU and shoe deals that go on. I do feel, and initially did this morning, that the coverage has been skewed, I have come off that assertion with regards to this story. UA is a hinderence to recruiting, considering how many kids are Nike clad. It is interesting to see they are trying to make inroads into this shady world.

Posted by: bmdugan | March 1, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

The article was accurate and exactly what the press should do.Th Post has no obligation to UA or MD. They cover the news good and bad. UA is at fault here. To bring a Recruit into your office during his recruiting trip is total ineptness on UA's part. They screwed MD out of a great great player. Lance will never attend MD now. That is what Terp fans should be upset about. MD will never admit to knowing this but if they really did not Gary and Debbie will rip Plank and UA. No excuse for the lack of foresight from UA on this one. Really get a clue. UA is a sinking company and moves like this only help the Ship sink faster.

Posted by: StanSmith37 | March 1, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

still over a month away from when he decides where he's gonna play next fall. Some reason I'm thinking its gonna be KU. But even if he doesn't come to UMD, it's all good. I mean, we still have Jin Soo Kim for another 3 years.

Posted by: doh1 | March 1, 2009 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Keep up the excellent journalism. Gary is clean: shining a spotlight on AAU practices, shoe companies, etc. can only help UMD in the long run. In the short run, it probably provided additional focus for the Terps, builds on that us against them mentality that seems to work.

Posted by: delrayAlex | March 1, 2009 6:39 PM | Report abuse

That is not covering a news story, it is making one.

Posted by: kozora | March 1, 2009 3:48 PM


Posted by: Barno1 | March 1, 2009 7:05 PM | Report abuse

There is a reason Steve Yanda now gets ignored by Gary Williams at press conferences.

The Washington Post ought to think long and hard about whether it wants to continue down the current path they're on with respect to the University of Maryland's basketball program. Consider the Post's relationship with the Washington Redskins, which has deteriorated in the last 10 years to the point where Vinny Cerrato and Dan Snyder now refuse to speak with beat reporter Jason La Canfora, due to La Canfora and the Post's perceived agenda-driven, irresponsible and unethical coverage of the Skins over the last several years. That deteriorating relationship culminated this past season with La Canfora attempting to blow the whistle on the Redskins on a phony tampering charge that he called the NFL front offices on--which in turn resulted in Vinny Cerrato publicly calling out La Canfora by name on his radio show and creating quite a backlash among the Post's readers.

This in many ways seems quite similar to today's accusatory piece on possible NCAA violations.

Is this what the Washington Post wants to happen to their relationship with the University of Maryland?

The Post has started down this ugly path just recently. But today's piece does not inspire confidence that the attacks will cease.

The blame should not stop with Prisbell and Yanda. Yes, to most observers it does appear that both of the Terps reporters are trying to make a name for themselves at the expense of the Maryland basketball program. But the responsibility should also lay with their assignment editors and all the higher ups in the Sports department involved in the recent attacks. This is a collective effort to go after MD--and one that had better stop if the Post does not want to see more embarrassments like Steve Yanda being ignored by Gary Williams at press conferences.

To the Post's assignment editors: Do you really want this to go where your relationship with the Redskins front office has gone, all just to sell a few papers and generate maybe a little more ad revenue?

To the 2 Terps beat reporters: Do you really want to become Jason La Canfora, and be despised by the team you are assigned to cover and most of your readers, all for the sake of making a name for yourself nationally?

There are other ways to make a name for yourself without losing your journalistic integrity.

Posted by: Barno1 | March 1, 2009 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Oh, please, Barno1. Are you Vinnie Cerato? I think most readers think Jason is too easy on the Danny.
I don't have any problem with the Post reporting on this. The shoe companies disgust me. What a bunch of dirtbags. What do I put on my feet if I don't want to participate in this system??

Posted by: didnik | March 1, 2009 11:56 PM | Report abuse

The biggest problems with the article I have are the timing of the article and the fact that Prisbell and Yanda actually got a by line for it because it read like it came directly from the Nike office of corporate communications. If, as Prisbell says, this is part of a larger piece on shoe companies and the AAU that fact should have been mentioned in the article.

Since UA has expanded it's line to include shoes there has been an all out push by the other major players in the industry to curtail the success of UA. There is a "shoe war" going on and the Post seems to have joined the side of Nike by not even mentioning the relationships other schools, especially Georgetown and JT2, have with them.

Posted by: PacoInAjijic | March 2, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

linking maryland with a recruiting violation with little evidence here is atrocious. I will never read the post ever again after so much Gary and Terps bashing here in the past few weeks. Good job WaPo at reporting awful stories and trying to expose a md program that is clean. You guys should be supporting the terps, not ruining the name.

Posted by: refreshi | March 2, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Very interesting article. I understand why Maryland athletics developed a relationship with UA and if done properly it can be a win/win situation. Unfortunately UA is seen by some as an extension of Maryland and both parties have to dot the I's and cross the T's on everything as their will be more scrutiny than most relationships.

Posted by: hartwick | March 2, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Under Armour has made several changes on it's Sports Marketing side over the past year. Their SR. VP left as well as several other longtime employees within that group. The guy that replaced the longtime SM VP was an attorney friend of K Planks. That guy signed Hawaii to an awful longterm deal and he also alientated the Colts Bob Sanders to the point he quit the Company. The attorney lasted a bit more than a year and has now been replaced. How bad are things? Plank has now taken on the responsibility of running Sports Marketing. Which means he spreads himself very thin. The point? It seems that UA is trying to play in the Big Leagues with inexperienced people. It seems like it has caught up to them in a real bad way down at MD.

Posted by: StanSmith37 | March 2, 2009 9:06 PM | Report abuse

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