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#pounditFriday, June 2, 2023

UCLA lost basketball recruits over Under Armour sponsorship deal

UCLA Bruins logo

UCLA on Tuesday announced that they have reached a sponsorship deal with Nike’s Jordan Brand to outfit the school’s athletic programs. The Bruins made the deal after Under Armour backed out of its record $280 million contract with the school earlier this year.

Though losing the Under Armour money likely hurts, the Bruins may see some other benefits from the switch.

Men’s basketball coach Mick Cronin said on Tuesday that he was told by players that the program lost some recruits previously due to their shoe affiliation with Under Armour.

The reasoning may seem silly to the uninformed, but there is more going on. Yes, there may be an element of Under Armour shoes not being viewed as cool, but that’s not all. It has long been whispered — and it became more widely known recently — that recruits often have ties to shoe brands long before they arrive at college. In some cases, these affiliations can dictate what colleges a player chooses from. Players are often “influenced” to choose a college that is outfitted by the same apparel brand that outfitted their high school club team. The Under Armour affiliation for UCLA may have narrowed their player recruiting pool.

UCLA’s deal with Jordan Brand is for six years and was negotiated without much leverage since Under Armour is out, so you can figure they’re making less than they were before. If they gain a recruiting advantage though, that could help offset the monetary drop.


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