By: Will Pitts
In August 2016, Goucher College announced a three-year sponsorship deal with athletic apparel supplier Under Armour. Banners proclaimed the new partnership – featuring the brand-new Gopher logo, which was unveiled at the same time were hung all over Goucher’s campus, including Dorsey Center while merchandise emblazoned with the Under Armour logo appeared on Goucher’s online bookstore and in the Athenaeum.
“Goucher is at the cutting edge of liberal arts education, and now we’re partnering with one of the great athletic innovators of our time,” said school president Jose Bowen in a press release issued shortly after the deal was inked. “We believe that our new brand is something that our students and our alumnae/alumni will embrace and celebrate. It’s an exciting time to be at Goucher College.”
While athletes may reap the benefits of this partnership, whatever they may be, other students may be asking the question, “What is this whole deal about? And what do we get out of it?” Geoffrey Miller, Goucher’s Director of Athletics, was interviewed about this issue.
As Miller explains, no money changed hands between the school and Under Armour. Goucher is a NCAA Division III school, giving Under Armour little incentive to risk sponsorship money on such a small potential audience.
“There’s so much at stake in Division I in terms of dollars,” said Miller. “…and also so much marketing power and upside for companies [like Under Armour] to affiliate with a Division I athletics department. … When we get 125 people to a game and you look at our sign out there that says ‘Atlantic Coast Charters’…they’re not gaining a heck of a lot out of that partnership.”
So, if Goucher didn’t receive any money, what did they get out of this deal? “Their enticement is a discount. 40% off the catalog price. And then [Under Armour]’ll give you a ‘credit’ based on your aggregate amount of business,” Miller said. As Miller explained it, each time the Goucher athletic department orders from the Under Armour catalog, 15% of the full purchase price – without the 40% discount tacked on – is transferred into their account as “credit” which can be used the following year. Miller plans to use the credit money to pay for special promotional items, such as caps, to give away first-come-first-serve to fans who attend Goucher games, as an incentive for students to fill seats.
Miller also laid out some of the department’s plans for future construction and expansion. The centerpiece was an expanded Sports Recreation Center, complete with a brand-new pool facility, a multipurpose room, and an upgraded fitness center. Plans also included removing the field behind the SRC and installing three new tennis courts, adding a parking lot in place of the tennis courts, and installing a new turf field next to where the riding stalls currently stand. However, none of these plans will go forward without donations of at least $60 million, according to Miller.
**Edited for grammar