NCAA “Special Edition” Uniforms Becoming The Norm

Parker Fox, Sports Editor

High-end sports companies like Nike, Under Armour, and Adidas are constantly vying for the attention of potential customers.  These brands have been seen on the uniforms of NCAA teams from Alabama to Youngstown State for the longest time.  But recently, Nike and Under Armour have released special “limited edition” uniforms for teams to wear one game only. 

            In 2005, Nike selected Miami, Oregon, Florida, and Virginia Tech to wear its “Revolution” uniform for one game during the season.  The jerseys remained the same, except one of the sleeves was a different color than the rest of the uniform (ex. Miami in all green but with one orange sleeve). 

            Nike’s designs for the limited edition uniforms gradually became more conspicuous, with in-state Oregon being used as the guinea pig.  Oregon boasts that they have never repeated an exact uniform combination, and their uniforms are always the flashiest and most striking in college football.  In last year’s National Championship game, Oregon wore shiny silver helmets and neon green socks and shoes. 

            In 2009, Nike released its Pro Combat uniforms.  Eleven programs were selected to debut the uniforms, which were 37% lighter than normal football uniforms and uniquely designed to each university’s culture and history.  Miami, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, LSU, Virginia Tech, Missouri, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Texas and TCU each wore their uniform on a Saturday in November.  Miami’s uniforms featured palm fronds on the shoulder pads.  

            With Nike selecting schools to wear their pro combat uniforms each year, Under Armour took its first step at a response when Maryland played Miami on Monday night.

            “It looked like Maryland had just finished a paint ball war,” says junior Nick Corneile. “They were kind of cool at first but overall they were just too much.”

            Maryland warmed up in a special uniform and helmet, and when they came out of the tunnel they were sporting a different “special” combination, which featured the Maryland state flag jumbled on every part of the uniform.

            Adidas has taken a different route than competitors Nike and Under Armour.  Sponsoring mostly conservative, historic programs like Nebraska, Notre Dame, and Michigan, they have not once released a special uniform (with the exception of Notre Dame’s throwback greens).  Some people prefer this approach, thinking that when you focus too much on what you’re wearing, you will lose focus.

            Although each company has approached limited edition uniforms a little differently, most people would agree they have gotten a little out of hand.