The exponential increase in profits has led to many changes in college athletics, most of which have not been warmly embraced. Conference realignment, for example, is nothing short of a straight cash grab for many schools, with the unfortunate side effect of shelving far too many classic rivalries. Missouri-Kansas, Syracuse-UConn, and several other notable rivalry games are either ended or are soon to end, which is, quite frankly, a borderline tragedy for fans of those programs and for purists such as myself.
One other "in your face" type of change has been in the uniform department, where clothing companies such as Nike and Adidas have aggressively pushed new jersey designs in order to sell more merchandise. Most schools have retained their classic jersey designs, but the influence can be clearly seen in the "alternate" jerseys worn once or twice a season. As expected, these instances often serve to infuriate fans -- people like me -- who can't bear to see their team in something other than their traditional garb.
The anger is pointless, of course, as this is just another product of the new landscape of college basketball. The Nikes of the world wield enormous power, and no amount of anger can change that. Time to accept the situation and move on.
Until yesterday. Until Adidas unveiled these...
Like I said, I'm all for accepting the situation, but this just goes too far. Waaaaaay too far. There's no way anyone in their right mind should wear these -- much less design them! -- and I would be completely outraged and embarrassed if I was a fan of any one of these six schools.
First of all, the shorts. Oh, the shorts. The (clearly) acid trip induced camo shorts that look strikingly like something Jazz from Fresh Prince might have worn to the beach. These are terrible! How can any self respecting basketball player be expected to wear these?
Second, the sleeves. Shirts you wear to work are supposed to have sleeves. Shirts you wear to dinner are supposed to have sleeves. Shirts you wear to walk around the mall are supposed to have sleeves. Shirts you play basketball in...not so much. Major fail.
Third, the Notre Dame jersey. Just wow. They're going to look like five walking Shamrock Shakes out there!
My biggest issue of all, though, is the fact that UCLA and Kansas agreed to wear them. Look, if Notre Dame wants to pimp a seasonal McDonalds dessert, and if Baylor wants to look like a sleeved reflective vest, that's on them. Nobody really cares. But Kansas and UCLA are two of college basketball's flagship programs. The first coach at Kansas was only the inventor of the game, after all! The traditions at these programs are too rich, and their look too iconic to lower themselves to clown status. With uniforms like that -- especially when worn during conference tournament and NCAA tournament play -- that's exactly what they are; clowns. If I were a fan of one of these two programs, I'd be getting a petition going or something, because there's no way I could stand seeing my team play the most important games of the season in these 1991 reject looking things.
- I was upset earlier in the year when Kentucky had to wear an alternate I thought looked dumb. Turns out, Nike's weren't all that bad.....in comparison.
- You can probably guess this one already, but I'll go ahead and say it. I love the fact that Louisville has to wear these stupid things! Finally, they have apparel stupid looking enough to warrant playing in a building called the KFC Yum! Center. A match made in heaven, if you ask me.