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adidas on Thursday unveiled its “new, eye-catching uniforms" that six teams -- UCLA, Louisville, Baylor, Kansas, Notre Dame and Cincinnati -- will wear in postseason play, and the camouflaged-patterned shorts and “bright-colored jerseys became a trending topic on social media,” according to Scott Gleeson of USA TODAY. The UCLA, Baylor and Louisville designs “feature sleeves similar” to the ones the Warriors wore in a Feb. 22 game. The Notre Dame and Louisville women’s teams “also will wear the gear.” Notre Dame men’s coach Mike Brey said he unveiled the jerseys to the players Wednesday. Brey: "We had two mannequins in the players lounge, and they’re still buzzing about it.” Cincinnati men’s coach Mick Cronin said, “I’m sure the traditionalists out there are really, really struggling looking at those uniforms” (USA TODAY, 3/1). The AP’s Joe Kay wrote the new look “will be especially head-turning for teams that usually wear tradition on their chests.” Alternate uniforms have become “big business in college sports, from Oregon's fluorescent tones with Nike to Maryland's loud designs with Under Armour.” adidas introduced “special light-weight basketball uniforms for Cincinnati, Louisville and Baylor at tournament time last season.” adidas checked with the schools “to see if they were interested in the tournament designs.” Not everyone “liked the sleeves," as Cronin "turned down the idea for his Bearcats” (AP, 2/28). In Chicago, Brian Hamilton noted Brey was first presented with the idea in October. He said, “Our players love it, and most importantly, that group of dudes I’m trying to get here over the next couple years, I know they really love it” (CHICAGOTRIBUNE.com, 2/28).
NOT A COMPLETE BREAK FROM TRADITION: Kansas men’s basketball coach Bill Self said that the school will wear the new jerseys for "at least one game in the Big 12 tournament.” Self: "How much we wear them in the Big 12 tournament will probably depend on how we play in them." He added that KU “wouldn't wear the jerseys after the Big 12 tournament, meaning the NCAA tourney is safe from the wild designs.” Self: "Kansas tradition and history should be what is promoted for ... in our look, and we’ve done that for years, but this is the one game where we will make that exception for Adidas" (K.C. STAR, 3/1). Meanwhile, the WALL STREET JOURNAL’s Rachel Bachman notes Indiana is “an Adidas-wearing team, and a storied one at that.” But that is “precisely why Indiana won't be seen any time soon in the new get-ups.” An IU spokesperson in an e-mail wrote, "We wouldn't consider a change." IU instead will “stick with their traditional, understated uniforms -- which include red-and-white candy-striped warm-up pants” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 3/1).
WHAT IN THE WORLD? In Newark, Steve Politi wrote under the header, “New College Uniforms Have Left Tradition In The Laundry Basket.” The uniforms are ones that “no self-respecting college team should wear.” The shorts look like “something Vanilla Ice’s back-up dancers might have worn in a bad music video.” The colors make the “poor players look like human highlighters, with the exception of the Notre Dame uniforms, which are a distinctive shade of snot” (NJ.com, 2/28). ESPN's Michael Wilbon said, "If you’re running Notre Dame, you’ve got to say, ‘Look, go back to the drawing board. Try again. We’re not going out there in that.’ It looks tie-dyed, something from the ‘70s when somebody was on an LSD trip." ESPN's Tony Kornheiser said, "Those shorts are awful-looking. They are reminiscent of the Zubaz in the 1980’s, which were awful looking" (“PTI,” ESPN, 2/28). ESPN.com’s Paul Lukas wrote the uniform designs feature “vaguely Zubaz-style shorts paired with solid-colored sleeved jerseys -- a brutal look that’s sure to be met with derision from fans and players.” Adding sleeves to a basketball jersey is “an interesting move, but in this case the sleeves almost feel like an afterthought compared to the stripe pattern” (ESPN.com, 2/28). ESPN’s Chris Broussard regarding the uniforms said, “Only the brothers in the south would like that.” The shorts “look like pajama bottoms” ("SportsNation," ESPN2, 2/28). The WALL STREET JOURNAL’s Jason Gay writes under the header, “This New Look Is Madness.” The uniforms are “silly” and the "wrong kind of crazy.” The Notre Dame uniform is “really the piece de resistance.” Gay: “I don't even think of basketball. All I want is a Shamrock Shake” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 3/1). TIME.com’s Sean Gregory wrote under the header, “March Sadness.” Gregory: “Why would UCLA ever muck with its classic -- and classy -- blue and gold?” (TIME.com, 2/28). In N.Y., Don Burke writes under the header, “March Badness!” (N.Y. POST, 3/1). But ESPN's Tony Reali said, “I like how ugly they are” (“Around The Horn,” ESPN, 2/28).
TWITTER REAX: The new jerseys drew a largely negative response from the Twitter-sphere. ESPN's Darren Rovell wrote, "Adidas NCAA gear being universally panned, maybe more than some of the Maryland Under Armour gear." Sporting News' Ryan Fagan: "Worst shorts: KU and UCLA. Worst overall uni: Notre Dame. Most tolerable: Baylor, Louisville." CBS' Bruce Feldman: "New #NotreDame hoops unis look like something Digger would've drawn up." USA Today's Dan Wolken: "UCLA is going to basically be wearing Hammer pants in the NCAA Tournament." The Portland Oregonian's John Canzano remarked, "Don't know why but those new Adidas unis make me think MC Hammer ... thinking zebra parachute pants for warm ups." SI's Andy Staples: "Nothing makes me think of Waking Up The Echoes or Wooden's Pyramid of Success more than Zubaz." Sporting News' Chris Littmann: "Zubaz references in my mentions: 18 and counting." SB Nation's Martin Rickman: "adidas giving us the teletubbies-themed college basketball jerseys we always wanted." The Washington Post's Michael Lee: "Ugh. Are they ready to ball or go to the beach?" West Virginia Univ. beat writer Patrick Southern: "Everything about Adidas' uniform designs continues to be insanely awful." CSN Bay Area's Ray Ratto: "I would like to modify and extend my remarks about Warriors' sleeved uniforms to say they could be infinitely worse." Pro Football Talk's Darin Gantt: "Maybe people need to get off my lawn. That's just ugly." ESPN.com's Dana O'Neil: "Someone needs to sic Joan Rivers on Adidas and make this annual assault on fashion stop." But SB Nation's Chris Mottram wrote, "It's OK to admit you like things, everyone. The adidas uniforms are fantastic." ESPN Chicago's Jon Greenberg: "What a failure by Adidas as everyone talks about their new uniforms."
TRYING TO KEEP UP WITH THE JONESES: ESPN's Marcellus Wiley said adidas has to "keep up with Under Armour, you’ve got to keep up with Nike." Wiley: "You’ve got to do those kinds of things, and these young kids are so impressionable at this age, all this stuff matters. Even if it’s tacky, it’s different and they like that. ... Whoever is designing this is thinking outside the box” ("SportsNation," ESPN2, 2/28). ESPN's Wilbon said this is a case where adidas is "now having to keep up with Under Armour," which has "forced their hand to where now they have to go out and find the edge and push the envelope” ("PTI," ESPN, 2/28).
The PGA Tour event in Tampa, which lost Transitions Optical as its title sponsor a year ago, has brought on Jacksonville-based EverBank Financial as a presenting sponsor for this year. The Tampa Bay Championship presented by EverBank is scheduled for March 14-17, giving the financial institution just a few weeks to pull together its marketing plan for the tournament. “We are focusing all of our time and energy on helping EverBank to become fully integrated, including development of on-site signage and the broadcast presentation and implementing a full-scale customer engagement program,” PGA Tour Exec VP & COO Andy Pazder said in a statement. EverBank since '10 has held the naming rights to the Jaguars' stadium. “We’ve had a great experience for several years as supporters of The Players Championship and we believe now is the right time for us to step up our sponsorship with the Tampa Bay Championship,” said EverBank President & COO Blake Wilson. Financial terms of the deal were not available (Michael Smith, Staff Writer). The event will still be played without a title sponsor, and in Tampa, Rodney Page noted if one "is not found by the end of the year, it likely will mean the end of the tournament” (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 2/27). Golfer Luke Donald, the defending champion of the event, said, “Of all the Florida courses, I think it had the strongest field and it would be a shame to lose the tournament because of that”(GOLFCHANNEL.com, 2/27).
TITLE SHOT: In Vancouver, Brad Ziemer reported PGA Tour Canada President Jeff Monday this week is “knocking on a few corporate doors in hopes of finding a title sponsor for a Vancouver event in 2014.” PGA Tour Canada, which “officially took over the struggling Canadian Tour last fall, had hoped to have Vancouver on its schedule this year.” But that “elusive title sponsor could not be found on relatively short notice, so now the goal is to land one in time for a 2014 event” (VANCOUVER SUN, 2/28).
Under Armour and USA Gymnastics on Thursday announced that UA will provide performance apparel, footwear and accessories for USAG athletes, coaches and staff through the '20 Olympics. This is UA's first sponsorship of a NGB for a summer Olympic sport, and the company will be designated as the official performance apparel and footwear outfitter. USAG athletes and staff will first appear in UA apparel at the upcoming AT&T American Cup on Saturday in Worcester, Mass. (UA). Terms of the deal were not reported, but in Baltimore, Jack Lambert noted UA will "provide apparel for the U.S. men’s and women’s gymnastics teams, as well as the country’s trampoline and tumbling squads." adidas was "formerly the apparel provider" for USAG. UA will work with Pennsylvania-based GK Elite Sportswear to "create team leotards for the men’s and women’s gymnastics teams." The company has "previously outfitted winter Olympic athletes" such as Gold Medal-winning U.S. skier Lindsey Vonn, the U.S. speedskating team and the Canadian snowboarding team (BIZJOURNALS.com, 2/28). This is the "largest apparel deal USA Gymnastics has had." UA "got into gymnastics when it sponsored" retired U.S. gymnast Alicia Sacramone, the team captain during the '08 Beijing Games. That "led to the larger deal" (AP, 2/28).
The Independence Bowl Foundation on Thursday announced that AdvoCare for the fifth consecutive year will be the title sponsor of Shreveport's postseason college football game, which now will be dubbed the AdvoCare V100 Bowl. The game previously had kept the word "independence" in the game's name in some form since it was created in '76 (THE DAILY). In Louisiana, Jason Pugh reports the new logo is a "red, white and blue football atop a shield with five blue stars above the AdvoCare V100 Bowl word mark." AdvoCare President & CEO Richard Wright and the bowl has its eyes "set on moving up in the pecking order of their affiliated conferences." This is the "final year of the SEC-ACC contract, allowing the newly named bowl to begin working on new affiliations." Wright said that he "has his eye on 'three conferences with regional ties.'" The bowl's current total payout "is $2.4 million if schools from the SEC and ACC are involved." Wright is "aiming for a $2 million per-team payout to help lift the bowl into a higher tier of conference selection." He added that bowl officials have "approached state leaders and are willing to 'meet' them halfway with regard to financial commitments," and his goal for the game is to "get in the top four or five picks within the given conferences with which the bowl aligns." Wright "called the Chick-fil-A Bowl by name when explaining his decision to rebrand the game." He said that few people "remember when the game was the Peach Bowl" (SHREVEPORT TIMES, 3/1).
Quiksilver will “discontinue" its female lines, and retailers were “notified of the elimination this week by representatives for the Huntington Beach-based apparel company,” according to Connelly & Liddane of the ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER. The move is the “first major change" since the company brought in new CEO Andy Mooney to replace Founder Bob McKnight. The news comes “just a month after the Surf Industry Manufacturing Association Image Awards honored Quiksilver Girls as the women's apparel brand of the year.” The Quiksilver Women's line “may have been overshadowed by Roxy, the company's popular women's and girls' line.” Quiksilver Women launched in '08, "focusing on 18-to-24-year-old customers” (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 2/28).
PANTS WITH SOME PADS: Professional BMX rider Kevin Robinson called his new Grindz pants as “cool, fashionable-looking pants but they have built in knee pads, hip pads and a tailbone pad.” Robinson said, “Kids never want to put their pads on now, they're too cool to wear pads, so I thought I’d kill two birds with one stone.” Robinson said Grindz are not strictly for BMX riding. He added, “I have construction workers that love them. If a guy’s laying carpet, he’s on his knees all the time, he has the knee pads built in” (“The Crossover,” NBC Sports Network, 2/27).
UNDERNEATH IT ALL: Lululemon CEO Christine Day said that the Canada-based retailer is the “secret underwear of choice for most NHL players.” She claimed that hockey players are “flocking to the yoga-pant maker’s new line of boxer briefs -- they just can't talk about it in public because of pre-existing sponsorship deals.” Day said that Lululemon “started sending out free samples to teams after hearing that some players were into their [briefs].” She said the company then surveyed the teams involved "and they told us that they loved the Lululemon underwear" (CANADIANBUSINESS.com, 2/15).