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SBD/September 15, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship
Univ. Of Maryland Football To Sport All-Black Uniforms This Weekend
Published September 15, 2011
CATCH ME IF YOU CAN: In a front-page piece for the N.Y. TIMES, Mike Tainer notes for years, professional and college sports teams "have been pushing the boundaries of taste and commercialism with their uniforms, prepared to abandon tradition in pursuit of consumer dollars," but this year the trend has “become something of a frenzy, with uniforms changing week to week, and the apparel makers and universities becoming quite frank about what’s at play." The uniforms seem to “excite recruits and move younger fans to break out their credit cards.” Much has been made about the Univ. of Maryland's football uniforms this season, but "there are plenty of other college football uniforms to be delighted or offended by." Arizona State’s new look “includes a redesigned Sun Devils pitchfork on the helmet that resembles a medieval alchemy symbol crossed with a corporate flow chart.” Oklahoma State is “vying to become the Oregon of the Great Plains by making fiery orange the new yellow.” The Army-Navy game will be “a fashion show of sorts” this season, with both teams wearing new Nike Pro Combat uniforms. Last Saturday's Notre Dame-Michigan game was the “debut of retro-inspired uniforms that recalled the days of flagpole sitting.” Tanier notes adidas, with a client list that includes Michigan, Notre Dame, UCLA, Tennessee and Wisconsin, “outfits many universities with very traditional uniform styles.” But adidas Dir of Football & Baseball Mark Daniels said that the manufacturer “would be unveiling some bolder concepts before the end of the season and was braced for the inevitable criticism.” Daniels: “You judge it through the lens of, What did the student-athlete think?” (N.Y. TIMES, 9/15).
HEADING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION? Nike released Pro Combat uniforms for several college football teams this week, and in Michigan, Patrick Walters wrote Michigan State is "smart to align itself with Nike." The Pro Combat uniform is the "direction college athletics has been heading for years, and the Spartans can either ride the crest of that wave and be innovators at the risk of looking stylish-if-silly, or they can retreat to the gravel pits of traditional, maudlin schtick with the Golden dome, the block M, Roll Tide and the rest." Walters added, "I want Nike to turn Michigan State into the Oregon of the Midwest. … I want the Spartans to look like this every single weekend" (MLIVE.com, 9/14). But in Miami, Michelle Kaufman writes, "So, where do uniforms go from here? How outlandish will they get? Will Nike glue feathers to the Ducks' uniforms? Will Texas have horns sticking out its helmets? Will the NCAA someday decide to limit the number of allowable uniform combinations because it creates an unfair recruiting advantage over schools that don’t have such lucrative sponsor deals?” (MIAMI HERALD, 9/15).