College Uniforms on Acid
by Randy Snow
Originally posted on Yahoo! Voices, Monday, September 26, 2011
What is up with all the crazy uniforms in college football this year? It's as if the video game world has come to life and encroached on the real world. Are the people designing these monstrosities still on a bad acid trip from the 60's? Please, somebody make it stop!
It all started a few years ago when Oregon was approached by Nike about redesigning their uniforms. They now have three different helmets and enough uniform combinations that you never know what they are going to look like when they take the field from week to week.
Whatever happened to tradition? When Michigan and Notre Dame played recently they wore throwback or retro looking uniforms. The Notre Dame helmets with the three leaf clover on them were ones they actually wore in the 1960's or 70's. Neither school changed their colors or changed their iconic looks in a way that was offensive to their respective histories or their fans. Both teams looked SWEET!
I like the fact that you can see footage on TV of teams from the 60's and know exactly who they are because their uniforms, colors, helmets and logos are all basically still the same today. You expect certain teams to look a certain way. That's the way they looked when you were growing up and that's the way your kids should know them, too. It's the Green and White versus the Scarlet and Grey, not the puce with orange piping versus "What the hell is that mess!"
The Beach Boys taught us all to "Be True to Your School" and your school is its colors, mascot and logo. It is not the company that makes their athletic apparel. Schools do change their mascots and nicknames from time to time, but those are not done on a weekly basis. In recent years, several schools have either voluntarily changed, or were forced to change, their Native American based mascots to something else. The Redskins and the Fighting Sioux come to mind. In 2000, Elon University of the Football Championship Subdivision (Div I-AA) changed its nickname from the Fighting Christians to the Phoenix. The old mascot was not considered offensive, but the school in North Carolina wanted to be known as more than just a Christian college.
Maryland, Boise State and Georgia have all succumbed to the hype of the uniform makers this year and allowed their teams to take the field in less than acceptable "fashion." Unfortunately, more schools are set to follow this hideous trend in the weeks to come.
Schools are selling out their tradition for a big payday from apparel manufacturers like Nike and Under Armour. They are trying to make themselves bigger than the game by bastardizing classic football uniforms for their own exposure, profit margin and selling ability.
The schools say it helps with recruiting. Really? Is that all it takes, a uniform amalgamation to get a kid to commit to your school? I would be leery of what other snap decisions in life that kid will make. Schools should be more concerned with winning games on the field rather than with how ridiculous they can look for profit during the game.
Throwback uniforms or a retro look are fine because they celebrate a part of the school's history. The trend today however is to celebrate capitalism at its best by selling out for a buck.
Stop the madness college football. Tradition is where its at.