SBD/August 2, 2013/Colleges

College Football Uniform Designs Increasingly Are A Differentiator For Recruits

Around 40 FBS college football teams have updated their uniforms entering the '13 season, and while the schools get a "nice revenue bump from the sales of these duds," recruiting and uniforms increasingly "have become intertwined," according to Jeremy Crabtree of ESPN.com. Uniforms have become "an integral part of the college football experience, woven into the fabric of recruiting." For example, Indiana "assembled its team for a uniform unveiling that has more than 300,000 views on YouTube." One Big Ten assistant said the IU video was produced "purely as a recruiting tool." Kansas' uniforms will include five different sets for '13, and coach Charlie Weis said, "It's great for recruiting. Recruits think, 'look at that helmet, if they wore this jersey with those pants.' Recruits love that stuff." Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said, "You drive down a highway and you look at a billboard and it says, 'you just looked at this billboard, you should use it as advertisement' -- it's the same philosophy as uniforms. It's a marketing tool. It grabs the attention of the young men we're recruiting." Crabtree noted uniforms that are "swagged out" not only help prospects "take notice of a program, they can be a difference-maker if the recruit is struggling to choose between two relatively even programs." High school recruit Lorenzo Carter said if two colleges are "exactly the same, I think uniforms would push them ahead of the other school" (ESPN.com, 7/31).

DUCK, DUCK, GOOSE: Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said the "history of Oregon football" includes the "spirit of innovation and it's something that we pride ourselves on." He added, "That was how we got in the door at all and now we're able to compete a little bit different nationally with recruits." Helfrich said of Oregon's uniform combinations, "We are so used to it now. Our guys literally come in on gameday, look at the board and they have it all laid out ... and they just go." Helfrich said of his favorite combination, "To our diehard fans, you have to go with something green or yellow ... But the silver and the black and all that other stuff is pretty cool too" (ESPN.com, 7/30).
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