While the rest of the ACC bloggers debate about FSU's departure, I am going to fret about another hypothetical. Grantland posted a great article on the future of corporate logos on sports uniforms. Logos are commonplace on sports jerseys around the world and in other sports (like NASCAR), but have not been a factor in the major, professional U.S. sports. Grantland predicts the NBA and NHL will have some variant soon. What the article did not broach was if college teams will add logos in the near future. My guess is they will and that raises many questions.
For anyone doubting that some college will eventually try the logo concept, all you need to do is look how willingly college teams embrace "combat" jerseys and other marketing ploys related to their uniforms. Is wearing some ridiculous contraption from Nike (or Under Armour) all that different from having a sports drink logo plastered on a shoulder of a uniform?
I doubt BC would ever be the first to try this idea, but we won't be the last. Once an few ACC teams or at least two of the Boston pro teams make the move you can count on BC to follow. This could be worth millions to the program. Aesthetically I wouldn't like it but I am sure I would get used to the idea. But what brands would we want to be associated with? Giant Glass and BMW of Peabody are great supporters of BC sports, but does that mean we have to have them out in front of the University's most public students?
Paying athletes also becomes an issue. It is hard enough to justify their amateur status now, but how can you when their uniforms become billboards? Schools could spin the endorsement: "those sponsors cover the cost of Title IX sports." The rebuttal is obviously that AT&T doesn't pay to be on the softball uniforms that no one sees.
College sports are changing. The money pouring in and the decisions being made will force schools like BC to readdress what our athletic mission truly is. I am not advocating that we become a Holy Cross. I still think athletics are a great tool and outlet for BC. But we need to start being more honest with ourselves and be prepared to answer the tough questions like should our students be walking ads for anything other than the school?