When the UCLA Men’s Basketball team takes the court tonight in Shanghai, China, they will do so decked out in uniforms, shoes and other gear from athletic apparel manufacturer Under Armour.
But, could the arrest of three freshmen team members actually end up costing UCLA its very lucrative contract with the company?
The short answer is maybe.
The contract, which was signed last year between the school and UA, took effect on July 1st. As we mentioned in our article about the details of the contract, it names football, baseball, and men's and women's basketball as four "Core Sports."
And, while the contract includes incentives should the Core Sports perform well, it also includes a clause that allows Under Armour to cancel the contract for cause if:
A Head Coach, senior member of UCLA’s Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, Core Team member, or a senior University administrator is convicted of or pleads guilty or no contest to a severe felony (e.g., first degree, aggravated, etc.) in the jurisdiction in which it was committed, or is otherwise involved in a major scandal (e.g., institutional academic fraud, corruption, embezzlement, allegations of discrimination supported by reasonable and credible evidence, major sexual scandal, etc.) that receives significant media coverage and in the reasonable determination of Company reflects unfavorably upon UCLA, Company and/or the Supplied Products, and following such act, UCLA fails to take reasonably appropriate action(s); provided, however, that in no event shall UCLA be required to take any action(s) that are inconsistent with Law or its institutional policies;
Now, I’m not a lawyer, but I think an international incident like the one that has transpired this week is certainly one that could fall into this section and it would certainly be prudent and reasonable for the CEO of a large multinational corporation like Under Armour’s Kevin Plank to have the company’s attorneys look into separating themselves from this international embarrassment.
At the very least, it adds significant complications for a school whose football team has been awful all season.
Plank and UA could use the incident to do one of several things in addition to cancelling it outright. They could use it to force UCLA into a renegotiation at a lower fee. They could also use it to force changes inside the Athletic Department and that could be anything from a demand to fix football immediately by replacing Jim Mora or even firing Steve Alford since his program caused the incident to insisting that UCLA clean house and hire a new athletic director who could, in turn, set a course to fix football and/or replace Alford.
But, the fact of the matter is that Under Armour basically holds all the cards here. A savvy CEO would direct his legal team to start the process of termination in order to force UCLA to the table to get whatever he wants out of UCLA.
Bruins Nation reached out to Under Armour for comment and a reply was not received by the time of publication. This article will be updated when a response is received.
In the meantime, feel free to read the complete contract yourself.
Meanwhile, let’s check in on the latest with the “Hangzhou Three” to find out what’s going on....
ESPN’s Arash Markezi, who has had the best info on the incident since it began on Tuesday, started answering questions on Twitter last night. Let’s look at some of the questions and his answers.
Can u clarify that they not on house arrest? Its alot of fake stories and media coverage. You been keeping it 100— Daunte (@thegood_guyyy) November 9, 2017
I reported Wednesday that they posted bail and are required by police to stay at their luxury lakeside hotel in Hangzhou until the legal process is over. No one knows yet definitively how long that will be. It could be days or weeks. https://t.co/0B7kbF3RL6— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) November 10, 2017
They are not wearing electronic devices. They are free to go anywhere within the hotel; pool, restaurant, spa, gym, etc. They just can’t leave the property until the legal process is over.— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) November 10, 2017
Are there police guarding them at the hotel?— Ben (@ben5412) November 10, 2017
No but a representative from the school and conference are there with them. https://t.co/7xMeMwp0rV— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) November 10, 2017
So basically their on house arrest, but could move around the building?— Tyris Matthews (@Tyris_Matthews) November 10, 2017
I just think "house arrest" is a stretch. There's no police on guard or monitoring device on them. They've been told to stay at the hotel but if they wanted to go across the street to Starbucks or McDonald's and come back they could. https://t.co/fqCUfByyCT— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) November 10, 2017
@ArashMarkazi thank you for your excellent reporting! It is much appreciated. Question: Are you able to interview employees at the Louis Vutton store? If so, what exactly occurred and why are the Chinese police not providing more info?— Ben (@ben5412) November 10, 2017
Thanks. Employees at the store did not want to be interviewed but multiple sources have told me there is surveillance footage of what occurred. https://t.co/dqYojaKXAp— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) November 10, 2017
Will they release the surveillance video?— jack (@japanack) November 10, 2017
I’m working on that but the Louis Vuitton store in Hangzhou has surveillance cameras in every corner of the ceiling and the incident apparently happened right below one. https://t.co/zENu1fMM4j— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) November 10, 2017
Some of you are asking if they’ll have to stay in Hangzhou for 20 days. That’s a possibility. But so is returning home this weekend. Truly, no one knows for certain right now. UCLA is currently working on getting them to come back on the team flight.— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) November 10, 2017
Will he play ?— Alex (@lakers81813) November 10, 2017
They’re out this weekend for obvious reasons. They’re probably also looking at a suspension when they return home. https://t.co/xRYa3aJhEJ— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) November 10, 2017
1 of 10 how likely is that they actually charge LiAngelo and sentence him 3-10yrs? lol (most likely won't happen in my opinion?)— Kobe Bryant (5-7) (@LakersZo2) November 10, 2017
I would look at their time in Hangzhou in terms of days or weeks not months or years. But, again, no one knows an exact return date for them and if they tell you they do right now, they’re not being honest. https://t.co/5UYvXCKMaT— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) November 10, 2017
@ArashMarkazi Do you think Liangelo Ball will play in a bruins jersey again this year ?— Xavier Buentello (@HTX_Xavier_) November 10, 2017
I’m not sure but hopefully everyone involved can learn and grow from this and be given another chance. https://t.co/OfyrBjigaE— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) November 10, 2017
In other news, the Big Baller Brand pop-up shop apparently drew quite a crowd today.
Big Baller Brand plans to open pop-up shops in London, Paris, Dubai and other international cities in 2018. The plan is to do this every three months. pic.twitter.com/erWeTTKse0— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) November 10, 2017
LaVar Ball and LaMelo Ball are signing autographs and taking pictures with fans at the Big Baller Brand pop-up shop in Shanghai. pic.twitter.com/JxTq50wx5A— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) November 10, 2017
The Last Word
Finally this morning, I just don’t see how LaMelo can maintain his NCAA eligibility when BBB is doing things like this and having his own shoe. We will just have to wait and see if Melo gets an ok from the NCAA clearinghouse when it’s time.