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Does Under Armour Hate Auburn? An Investigation

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How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good swag.
Kathy Willens/Associated Press

War Eagle, Auburn fans and welcome to the football purgatory between the SEC championship and the Peach Bowl. I have no numbers in which to dive, but I do want to bring something equally as important to your attention. I have noticed a problem with the service our athletic supplier, Under Armour (NYSE: UA) has been providing us. Namely, my inability to get what I personally want from them. At my core, I am deeply selfish, but at least I know that. UA has had a pretty rough year in 2017: its stock has been moving vertically about as well as an Ostrich with a three day hangover. Considering the success of the athletes and schools Under Armour sponsors, you would think it would be doing better. Many of them have won MVPs and championships and yet none of those things have moved the needle for the Baltimore-based company. Some of this has to be due to misguided or odd business decisions, and I think I might have uncovered an example the oddest. Auburn and Cam Newton are both Under Armour marketing properties, yet UA has never connected the dots and marketed both simultaneously. This should be a no-brainer. Now maybe some other factor is in play here, but the only ones that would make sense out of this failure would be:

  1. Auburn hates Cam Newton
  2. Cam Newton hates Auburn
  3. Under Armour hates Auburn
  4. Under Armour is screwing up

Cameron Newton attended Auburn University in the Glorious year of 2010 and had the greatest single season in the history of American college football en route to a Heisman trophy, a national championship, and being drafted #1 overall in the NFL draft. He went on to sign the largest contract ever offered to an NFL rookie by a sportswear company with Under Armour. You might notice on Saturdays that Auburn University wears Under Armour uniforms, cleats, visors, sweatbands, underwear, socks, gloves, and probably other stuff. Seriously, count the Under Armour corporate logos on this photo of amateur athlete Kerryon Johnson:

NCAA Football: SEC Championship-Georgia vs Auburn Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Seven. Also notice that the cleats Kerryon Johnson is wearing are not these cleats.

Those are the C1N MC cleats, and you can buy them here. They are notable for two reasons: one, they are the endorsed by Mr. C1N himself, Cam Newton, and two, not a single Auburn football player wore them this entire season. Not one. I watched every game, and paid way too much attention to the sneakers and cleats on Auburn’s sidelines, and can guarantee you that no one was decked out in Cam Newton gear. Why is that notable?

Friendly reminder: Lebron James didn’t attend any college, much less Ohio State, and also is a basketball player. Nike made Ohio State football cleats from a basketball shoe endorsed by a basketball player who just likes Ohio State a lot and Nike is selling out of them. Cam Newton went to Auburn, played football at Auburn, is sponsored by the same apparel company as Auburn, and has his own football cleat, but Under Armour did not put two and two together to give the Auburn football team Cam’s cleat.

Sneaker companies love using their collegiate endorsements to sell products marketed by professionals. Here is another example of Nike utilizing this strategy:

That’s the Nike KD9 “Texas” edition. Kevin Durant only played at Texas for one season, and didn’t even make the Final Four, yet every season the Horns players lace up fresh new heat from Nike. Remember that time Cam played at Auburn and was so good they built a danged statue to him outside the stadium?

Maybe Auburn doesn’t want to wear Cam’s ugly cleat. Maybe Auburn hates Cam Newton.

So Auburn loves Cam, or at leasts likes Cam enough to use his story in a commercial. Auburn fans love Cam Newton. The only thing Auburn fans love more than Cam Newton is buying Auburn gear. I personally wear an Auburn hat almost every single day. The hat I wear was made in China, but sold by Under Armour. Why did I buy that hat? Because it says Auburn on it and looks like the one the baseball team wears. I would probably have bought it if it was made by Taliban Sportswear as long as the Auburn baseball team wore a similar hat. Is my hat exactly the same as the one the baseball team wears? No. For whatever reason Under Armour doesn’t sell that hat, and actually doesn’t even give Auburn fans as many apparel options as it does some of its other schools. However, this piece of rambling investigative journalism is about the inability to get Cam Newton branded Auburn apparel, not Under Armour’s inability give us as many T-shirt options as it does UCLA.

Maybe Cam hates Auburn?

HE IS WEARING A C1N BRANDED AUBURN SHIRT MADE BY UNDER ARMOUR. Why can’t I wear one of those too? I like Cam and I want to be like him! This is the garbage I’m talking about!

Look at the following Twitter exchange.

No can do?

Under Armour, baby what is you doing? Auburn fans would wear the h*ck out of that shirt. I’d buy one in every color. Do you not like money?

Does Under Armour hate Auburn? I mean, this stuff is egregious. Auburn and North Carolina have more athletes who have been given signature sneakers than any other schools. Auburn has Bo Jackson, Charles Barkley, Frank Thomas, and now Cam Newton. There are rumors Josh Donaldson might get his own cleat from Nike this next season, but at the moment Auburn has four different athletes who have their own signature kicks. Cam is the only one who is also an Under Armour athlete. As awesome as it would be to see the Auburn hoops team bust out some old school Barkleys, Nike doesn’t get the chance to make that happen. Under Armour could make Auburn the face of its C1N line at the college level, and just doesn’t.

Last week, twitter user @FlashSole got my hopes up with this:

For all I know, that’s fake news. Under Armour has done nothing to make me think I’m going to see Kerryon and the gang walking into Mercedes-Benz in Atlanta for the Peach Bowl wearing those, and even less to make me think that I will be able to give Under Armour over one hundred of my dollars for a pair of them. Auburn has won and appeared in more championship-level games in the past few years than any other Under Armour football school, yet Auburn fans are treated like we are South Florida fans. In conclusion, we know Auburn likes Cam, we know Cam likes Auburn, we are wondering if Under Armour hates us or if they are just screwing up. Prove to us you care, Under Armour.

By the way, if those shoes release, and I get to buy them, then this article can be disregarded. Under Armour, the ball is in your court. I wear an 11.5.