SBD/September 14, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Nike Unveils New Pro Combat Uniforms For Nine College Programs

Michigan State will wear Pro Combat uniform against Michigan on Oct. 15
Nike yesterday unveiled its newest Pro Combat college football uniforms and “some chat room and Twitter comments were negative and decried the turn from the traditional green and white uniforms” of Michigan State Univ., according to Greg Johnson of the GRAND RAPIDS PRESS. Nike and MSU said that the football uniforms, which will be worn on Oct. 15 against the Univ. of Michigan, “honor the heroic armor of their historic namesake.” Bronze has been added to the uniform, and the back of the collar is inscribed with "Molon Labe," which Nike described as the ancient Spartans’ "defiant challenge to the competition to ‘come and get them!’” MSU coach Mark Dantonio said, “In this day and age, this is about recruiting, this is about young people, this is about being on the cutting edge of things. This is about change sometimes, not change for the long haul” (GRAND RAPIDS PRESS, 9/14). In Detroit, George Sipple notes the “new helmet is bronze with the Spartan logo on the side and a thick green stripe down the middle.” The jerseys are “dark green with bronze numbers and have the word ‘Spartans’ in black on the back.” The pants are “black, the socks green and the cleats bronze.” MSU is “one of nine teams set to wear Nike Pro Combat uniforms for one game this season,” joining Army, Boise State, Georgia, LSU, Navy, Ohio State, Oregon and Stanford (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 9/14). LSU plans to wear its Pro Combat uniform Oct. 22 against Auburn, and in New Orleans, Jim Kleinpeter noted the design “includes a white helmet with the traditional LSU Tigers helmet logo on each side; ‘old gold’ and purple run from front to back and faint Tiger stripes are integrated into the helmet design.” White pants, white and gold-toned shoes, "Eyes of the Tiger" gloves, and “an LSU Tiger-themed under-layer complete the uniform design.” LSU's Nike Pro Combat merchandise “will go on sale to the public on Oct. 10” (NOLA.com, 9/13).

WEIGHING IN: ESPN.com’s Paul Lukas wrote MSU’s uniforms look "almost Oregon-ish from a distance.” The new look is “not a bad design on its own terms, but a gold helmet and black pants just do not say, ‘Michigan State.’" Lukas wrote of Ohio State’s uniforms, “Don’t understand Nike's new habit of having pants stripes begin several inches down on hip, instead of right at the waistline. Makes the stripe look incomplete. ... Overall, not really good or bad -- just blah” (ESPN.com, 9/13). SI.com’s Holly Anderson wrote the jerseys for Army and Navy feature “uncountable little touches,” and “just about all of them are great ones.” Anderson: “The Navy helmet and Army shoulder crest, grand yet unfussy" (SI.com, 9/13).

FIGHTING TEMPTATIONS: The Univ. of Michigan is allowing its football players to keep the special adidas jerseys worn during Saturday's win over Notre Dame, but Denver Post columnits Woody Paige called the move a "mistake." The temptation "is just too incredibly great” for players to sell the jerseys, a violation of NCAA rules. Paige: "Here's the solution: You say, ‘When you graduate, we’ll give you the jersey,’ because at that point it doesn’t matter.” L.A. Times columnist Bill Plaschke said, "People would love these jerseys. You see how cool they look? ... This is tempting kids too much." But ESPN's Jackie MacMullan said, "The only one that would get any money for his jersey anyway is (QB) Denard Robinson" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 9/13).
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