Recruiting provides an example of the balance that must be maintained by Under Armour and the university. Maryland believes it benefits recruiting to be so prominently associated with Under Armour, a popular brand among many high school athletes. But there are lines the school cannot cross.
Maryland quarterback Danny O'Brien, the Atlantic Coast Conference freshman of the year last season, plans to be an intern at Under Armour this summer.
Such opportunities don't violate NCAA rules unless a high school player is promised a job or internship as part of his recruitment, said Dan Trump, the university's associate athletic director for compliance.
"We are an Under Armour school," Trump said. "They use us to sample products. You can highlight that relationship [in recruiting]. You can say students in the past have had opportunities. But you can't make promises."
Plank said of O'Brien: "He's a pretty dynamic individual. There's no quid pro quo with any of these athletes."
Plank's contributions to Maryland athletics included a $1 million donation in 2007.
An "athletics transaction history" supplied by Under Armour lists a total of $1.76 million in donations to Maryland from late 2007 until this past Feb. 15, although Under Armour said $325,000 of it was not for athletics. The gifts were from Plank, Under Armour or Plank's Cupid Foundation.
In September 2010, Plank said he met with Anderson at the Maryland-Navy football game — both men wore bright-red, Under Armour Terps shirts — and presented a $250,000 check. Plank said the money was to finance activities such as Maryland's and Under Armour's involvement with the Wounded Warrior Project, which provides services for injured military service members and their families.
"I said, 'Kevin, there are a lot of things we're going to do,'" Plank recalled of the meeting, which occurred two days after it was announced that Anderson, the former Army AD, was being hired by Maryland.
Under Armour's close relationship with Maryland — "It is all in the family now," Plank said after the deal with the university was signed — has been likened to Nike's relationship with Oregon.
"I don't agree with that characterization," Plank said. "Under Armour is Under Armour. Maryland is Maryland. We're not comparing ourselves to anybody else. I hope to help Maryland for the next 50 years."