SBD/June 7, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Univ. Of Indiana's New Helmets Creating Rare Buzz Around Its Football Team

Indiana is expected to wear each helmet at least one time this season
The Univ. of Indiana football team recently unveiled six helmet designs for the '13 season that cover "everything from a retro look to the school's more traditional fare to something that seems better suited for a science fiction flick," according to Michael Marot of the AP. IU is "expected to wear each sometime this season, and the changes are already having an impact" on the program. IU coach Kevin Wilson said, "It's sparked some interest in the recruiting." Marot noted for a fan base that prefers "long-standing traditions such as the basketball team's candy-striped warm-up pants and the logo that connects the letters 'I' and 'U' in the form of a pitchfork, it's a dramatically different look." But IU football "has always been treated a little differently." The program is "following the lead of Oregon and other schools that have been using multiple helmets." One features a "two-toned crimson-and-cream helmet with a larger IU logo," while another bears the "design from the state flag." The "most striking design" of all is a "crimson-and-chrome candy-striped helmet." Wilson said that the crimson-and-chrome helmet "received the most applause from his current players and has created a buzz among recruits." He said, "The chrome stuff is in vogue and the candy stripe look is unique to Indiana and basketball and swimming in particular. We liked the look and it was something the administration got approved. We don't want to be gimmicky, or an Arena League type of thing, but the helmets are cool" (AP, 6/6).

WORTH A SHOT: ESPN's John Saunders noted tradition "takes precedence over a flashy new look" with a lot of college football programs, as fans are "not going to see Michigan, Alabama or Penn State break out new uniforms." Saunders: "But when a program is struggling, why not?" But ESPN's Andre Ware asked, "Do you win games by just rolling helmets out there?" ("College Football Live," ESPN, 6/6).
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