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Under Armor and Lance Stephenson Raising Questions

I enjoy the Washington Post. Great comics section, lots of news, relatively fair opinion pieces (Charles Krauthamer FTW). But I do not condone Eric Prisbell, at all. The Terps "beat writer" is quite possibly the most anti-Terps reporter in the business. I'm not saying they should get a homer like me, but at least get someone more balanced. First, there was the recruiting issues, complaining that Gary doesn't get top recruits. A reason for that, remember, is that he doesn't go into the gray areas of recruiting

Now, he's written a piece investigating the Maryland-Under Armor- Lance Stephenson connection. Damned if he does, damned if he doesn't.

When Lance Stephenson and his parents came to the area in late January for an official visit to the University of Maryland, the high school basketball standout from Brooklyn, N.Y., was courted by two suitors. His itinerary included not just attending a Maryland home game and meeting Terrapins coaches, but also a visit to the Under Armour athletic apparel company in Baltimore.

Maryland wanted the heralded guard to be the centerpiece of a recruiting class that would help make the Terrapins a contender in the ACC in the 2009-10 season. At the same time, industry sources said, Under Armour wanted to build a relationship with Stephenson so he would become part of its fledgling basketball shoe division if he reaches the NBA.

The most elite high school basketball players are often recruited by shoe companies, but rarely is a company also a major benefactor of a university pursuing the same player. Under Armour founder and chief executive Kevin Plank is a former Maryland 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 Inc. is acknowledged by Maryland as a member of its "Legends" benefactor group, meaning it has donated more than $1 million to the school.

Look, I understand why Prisbell did this - I agree, it's a big story. But it's incredibly one-sided. Never in this story is the other side of the argument.The only quote they include from a Maryland official is that they're investigating the situation. It's not even direct. The Post just lets everyone know that a Maryland official is going to investigate it to see if they broke NCAA regulations. No idea what that official actually said, or even who it was.

Don't you think Oregon gets recruits because of Nike? At one point, they mention a recruit wouldn't be given a tour of Nike's facilities, but (not to sound like a conspiracy theorist) wouldn't Oregon say that? If the NCAA is about to launch an investigation, of course they're going to say that they would never do that.

Not to mention that no one yet knows just how involved Under Armor is. The entire article is speculation. All of it. There isn't one fact in there that indicates and UA involvement in this recruitment except the visit to UA's facility. Still, that was just a tour: there were no negotiations or private talks. Unnamed "industry sources" are familiar with the situation, apparently, but they don't mention who or what situation they're familiar with, exactly.

I don't know what it is about the Washington Post, but they can't seem to report on Maryland positively. If there were negative articles on Georgetown and UVA and Virginia Tech, then I could understand this. But the last time I saw a big article that was negative about Georgetown was in the New York Times. I guess no Hoyas beat writer at the Post saw that Georgetown recruited a kid with only 12 credits.

I hate to complain like this, but the media has been a bit too negative for me recently. Between Gottlieb having selective memory and now this, I have a weird queasy feeling.