Kevin Plank's Influence At Maryland: Any Conflict Of Interest Here?

The boys over at Testudo Times found an interesting article on Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank and his influence on Maryland athletics. It was recently revealed that Plank loaned or chartered a plane five times for Maryland in the span of two years for everything from the Terps' most recent football coaching search to the men's basketball program for a recruiting trip. The total cost was $123,906.

That $123,906 figure is just a fraction of the contributions Plank has made to his alma mater. However, while Plank has given generously to Maryland, he's doesn't want to be the guy pushing any decisions or having a huge influence on how the University acts.

Now there's nothing too out of the ordinary about Plank's contributions to his alma mater's athletics programs. In fact, Plank is very similar to Nike co-founder and Oregon grad Phil Knight. Knight has donated millions of dollars to Oregon athletics to keep the Ducks relevant on the national stage. His investments in Oregon have paid off in a big way -- at least on the gridiron -- where the Ducks recently played in the BCS National Championship Game sporting the 1,543 different uniform combination since 2007.

Just curious whether Plank's personal investments in Maryland will in any way influence UA's investment in Boston College, the only other school in the ACC outfitted by Under Armour. Would Maryland get preferential treatment from UA when it comes to demoing a new basketball shoe or showcasing a new football uniform technology a la Nike's Pro Combat gear?

In the Pac-12, the competitive dynamic is a bit different, where 10 of the conference's 12 schools are outfitted by Nike. The two exceptions are UCLA, with a massive apparel contract with Adidas, and newcomer Utah, who is outfitted by Under Armour. Knight will of course continue to play favorites by personally donating to Oregon. But Nike's investments are spread out across 10/12 of the Pac-12, so Nike's doesn't really have much of a rooting interest in the conference.

In the ACC, Maryland is Under Armour's baby, their Oregon, which makes BC seem a bit like a third wheel in this ACC apparel outfitter relationship. Of course UA has an interest in seeing either program succeed in the ACC. But if push came to shove, I'm sure Plank would rather see Maryland on the top of the conference heap instead of BC.

I'm certainly not suggesting any nefarious acts on behalf of Plank and UA here. Just wondering if Plank's relationship with Maryland could in any way influence BC's place in the college athletics apparel arms race. Thoughts? 

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