Thursday, May 17, 2012

The future of BC's uniforms

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?


Dan said...

Note to self: Start company so that I can put my logo on BC jerseys.

apbc12 said...

If Skinner was still here, Eastern Clothing of Watertown could sponsor the whole team. Imagine the attention we'd get being the first school to have mock turtleneck basketball jerseys.

Knucklehead said...

Mary Ann's would be a good choice.

Big Jack Krack said...

This subject is ridiculous, but the comments are funny.

How about TROJAN® Brand?

Eagles on the front and Trojans on the back.

CT said...

Given all the recent talk on here about revenue in college sports, did anyone read the front page article in USA Today a few days back on Texas' athletic program?

Erik said...

Volvo, Speery Topsiders, or Banana Republic would fit.

Erik said...

"Sperry". iPhone + MBTA bus caused that one.

Knucklehead said...

Hey Big,
I don't think Father Leahy would allow contraception ads on the uni's.

Against the church's teachings. Haha.

Big Jack Krack said...

I saw that, CT - and didn't know whether to laugh or cry.

I also saw this - Former Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis has received $8.7 million since firing.

It's a sick atmosphere out there - but I'd still like BC to compete. We're not quite to the point where we have a professional college division and a regular college division. Getting close, though.

ObserverCollege said...

Eventually there's going to be a wildcat strike over this issue. Seriously (really). Rumor is that there was almost one for the NCAA Championship Game about 20 years ago, but the team organizing it was upset in the Final Four. I would guess that was UNLV FWIW.

Now move forward from there where you have the money flowing from a playoff determining a football national champion. This coupled with corporate sponsors placing decals on the players' uniforms--decals the players see every play of every game. Meanwhile, players are supposed to be satisfied with $400 shopping sprees to Best Buy as part of their "bowl/playoff hospitality package"???

Uh, no. Given a week or so to get revved up and organized, a boycott could come together by gametime. From the players' standpoint, the closer to gametime before Disney/ESPN gets wind of this, the better. Then Disney/ESPN is stuck trying to sub in one of the losing teams, or forced to make a deadline deal. I suppose one could hope the courts would step in and force the players to play for no compensation, but I would think that's a tough go.

The smartest thing the AFL-CIO or SEIU or Teamsters could do would be to start a summer internship or co-op program for NCAA revenue program athletes -- a time when athletes can hold jobs as they're not in regular session. Make it analogous to the internship programs you see in law firms and investment banks or in government. Hold seminars about the economics of the labor movement, the history of job actions, and forms of strikes--with special emphasis on "wildcat" strikes like the one Heinsohn almost pulled at the NBA All-Star Game in Boston years and years ago. Stack the lessons so that the conditions where a wildcat strike seems most effective happens to match the conditions we see with a football playoff and corporate decals on players' uniforms.

From there, let the players put two and two together. Having worked with the unions, they'll have support they can trust if one of them gets in the right position and decides to strike while the iron is hot.

Knucklehead said...

Not sure a strike is going to happen, ever. There is so much money floating around already. The future pro's are getting money on the side. The average player is getting what is outlined on the link. There is a push by the SEC to increase the Grant money to $7,500 from what Brent Musberger said during the LSU 'Bama championship game.

Where is the Grant money coming from . . . 1) Students/Parents who are paying full tuition, 2)tax payers. It is sad.

I think about my parents who put three kids through private high schools and private colleges. 700 hundred thousand after tax dollars. How much of that went to defer the costs of others and pay for athletic scholarships? If it were 10% that is $70,000 after taxes.


stgeorgecitygolf said...

Pretty nice uniform, I really like it..

Youth Softball Uniforms