First off, let me start by saying how much I like the University of Maryland. Great location, great communications school, great kids (I’ve hired a few with wonderful success)….you get the drift. But on Monday night on ESPN I could not believe my eyes when I saw their football team’s new uniforms. I always thought Oregon University’s uniforms were a bit weird but I appreciated the attempt to be different. Last week I saw the new uniforms displayed by the University of Georgia and thought they were horrid. Miami University, Maryland’s opponent Sunday night, had some awful uniforms in their own right. But, hands down, the worst uniforms in the history of football are Maryland’s.
Is this a trend? Is there a need to go to outlandish uniforms to gain attention of recruits, alumni, the student body? As a communicator, design is intrinsic to a brand. What is Maryland saying about its brand with those ridiculous uniforms? I can’t imagine this is helpful.
Now I consider myself a reasonably creative, forward thinking guy. I am all for differentiation and expressing one’s self. But the best football uniforms are the classic’s—Michigan, Penn State, UCLA, and Notre Dame come immediately to mind. They stand the test of time. I’m not saying uniforms can’t or shouldn’t change—Wisconsin has done a great job modernizing their uniforms. But for goodness sake, when you split the uniform helmet down the center and put two completely unrelated designs together (oh, I’m sorry, the design rationale was that they took elements from the state flag) the result is an unmitigated mess.
My bet, you’ll see new Maryland uniforms next year. What were those guys thinking anyway?