nike air max thea baratas Uniforms a selling point for schools
FacebookTwitterFacebook MessengerPinterestEmailprintcommentUniforms. They’re a topic around college football offices these days almost as often as the words “up tempo offense.”
Oregon broke the mold of traditional uniform combinations and caught the attention of recruits in the process. NikeThis year, around 40 FBS programs have updated their look. Some are simple, like Texas’ subtle updates to Nike’s latest template around the collar on its jerseys. Then there is Indiana, which completely revamped its identity. And Oregon and Oregon State, who have engaged in a battle to find the coolest combos including two and three toned face masks.
Schools get a nice revenue bump from the sales of these duds.
But more and more, recruiting and uniforms have become intertwined.
Still, there’s no question they play a role in the recruiting process. They’ve become an integral part of the college football experience, woven into the fabric of recruiting.
Indiana, for example, assembled its team for a uniform unveiling that has more than 300,000 views on YouTube. One Big Ten assistant said it was produced “purely as a recruiting tool.”
New uniforms make coaches downright giddy as they hit the recruiting trail.
“I think it’s great for recruiting,” said Kansas coach Charlie Weis, who altered Kansas’ uniforms to include five different sets for the 2013 season. “Recruits think, ‘look at that helmet, if they wore this jersey with those pants.’ Recruits love that stuff. So if it gives you a chance to get more players because they like the stuff, and ultimately help you win, that’s what you have to do.”
Athletic department officials agree that uniforms and recruiting go hand in hand.
“The student athletes love it they absolutely love it,” Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon said earlier this spring at Big Ten athletic director meetings. “The coaches love it, because the student athletes love it. The recruits may love it even more than the student athletes. I get this question a lot from recruits.”
While uniforms had been used for decades as recruiting tools, Oregon took it to a new level starting in the early 2000s.
With the support of Nike founder and Oregon alumnus Phil Knight, Oregon unveiled in 2005 a new high performances uniform that kicked things into high gear. Players were allowed to provide feedback into the design of the uniform, which the Ducks used a recruiting tool.
“It opened doors for us,” said Oregon coach Mark Helfrich, who got his start as a graduate assistant at Oregon in 1997 and has been on the Ducks’ staff since 2009 after stops at Boise State, Arizona State and Colorado.
the school in the middle of nowhere became the trendiest program in college football.
Top recruits began mentioning Oregon as a school of interest. The Ducks’ success on the trail has resulted in success on the field. Oregon’s last four recruiting classes average 20th in the nation and the Ducks have played in four straight BCS games.
“You look at the history of Oregon football, and we have a spirit of innovation,” Helfrich said. “It’s something we pride ourselves on that started in the early ’90s. [Uniforms] are how we got in the door at all. And now we’re able to compete a little bit differently nationally with recruits, and we can at least get in the door. But more and more, it just puts you in front of some different people.”
Other schools have taken notice.
Maryland’s unique uniforms which mixed the schools’ colors and the state flag were Randy Edsall’s public way of ushering in a new era. Rob Carr/Getty ImagesLooking to revitalize its program under Randy Edsall, Maryland drew a lot of national attention for its “Pride” uniforms from Under Armour that incorporated the Terps’ red and black and Maryland state flag colors. At Oklahoma State, the Cowboys wore six different Nike uniform combinations in 2010 and 13 combinations in 2011 and 2012. During that same period, OSU landed recruiting classes that finished in the top 30 twice.
“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,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said. “It’s a marketing tool. It grabs the attention of the young men we’re recruiting.”
But as any good advertiser will tell you, it doesn’t matter how shiny the package is if you can’t get somebody to buy the product. Uniforms were the top factor for only 3 percent of players, and uniforms ranked eighth on the list of criteria behind academics, coaching, playing time, school tradition, location, experience sending players to the NFL and television exposure.
Those numbers aren’t really a surprise to many prospects.
“It doesn’t matter what color or number that you have on. At the end of the day when you’re running down the field, all you really care about is how well you do in the game. If you’re a recruit and you’re thinking about picking a school because it has cool uniforms grow up and check your swag at the door. You’re making a lifelong decision. Why are you putting it into clothes?”
The nation’s No. 1 prospect, running back Leonard Fournette of New Orleans (La.) St. Augustine, agreed that uniforms pale in comparison to factors like future major, playing time and relationships with coaches. “All of these things go way beyond uniforms,” Fournette said.
So is the importance of uniforms in the recruiting process overblown? “Yes and no,” River Ridge (La.) John Curtis Christian receiver Malachi Dupre, the nation’s No. 26 overall player. “It is and it isn’t a big deal and a part of recruiting. I don’t think many recruits will say that uniforms are more important than being with a good coach or getting a great education. If that’s the case,
then I don’t know what they’re thinking about. They probably don’t have the right mindset. But I know recruits definitely want to look sweet.”.