OSU to Wear Nike Pro Combat Unis for The Game

Submitted by MGoShoe on August 18th, 2010 at 5:54 PM

OSU and Nike announced today that the Buckeyes will wear a one off uni for the 2010 edition of The Game as they did for the 2009 tilt. 

Ohio State is one of 10 of the top college football programs that will wear uniquely designed Nike uniforms for at least one game during the 2010 season the company announced today. Ohio State will wear the innovative design for the Michigan game November 27.

...

The Nike Pro Combat System of Dress uniforms the schools will wear are engineered to provide superior protection and durability, while utilizing advanced fabrics and tooling that reduce weight.

Nike worked diligently with each university to bring relevant elements of the school's rich heritage into the futuristic elite fit uniform designs.  The collaborations with the universities produced the highly customized uniforms that will be revealed just days prior to the start of the 2010 college football season.

So, the design may or may not have much to do with the "throwback" unis they wore last year.  We await the reveal with breathless anticipation.

In the meantime, you can chew on this from @elevenwarriors:

At least OSU chose a game which will be impossible for the Pro Combat unis to jinx.

Who's doing the jinxing now? 

In its blog post about the initial announcement (now updated with the news of the selection of Michigan), Eleven Warriors correctly predicted that the unis would be worn against Michigan using the following sound logic:

My hunch, because Nike and the athletic department both like money, is that the uniforms will be worn at home this year. That way, rabid memorabilia-collecting guy on your block can own a home and away jersey.  Nike likes to pit the teams wearing the one-off uniforms against non-Nike schools...

And Michigan fills that bill to a T.  It's pretty pathetic that OSU is using The Game as proxy in Nike's battle with Adidas, but there it is.  College football, selling its soul, one alternate jersey sale at a time.

Comments

wile_e8

August 18th, 2010 at 6:00 PM ^

It's pretty pathetic that OSU is using The Game as proxy in Nike's battle with Adidas, but there it is.  College football, selling its soul, one alternate jersey sale at a time.

Is Nike trying to lose the battle?  "If you switch to us, we'll make your tradition-rich program wear these goofy alternate jerseys to help promote the Nike brand."

MGoShoe

August 18th, 2010 at 6:18 PM ^

...gross sales, and that means alternate jerseys.  The more there are, the more fans will buy.  Instead of "I need a home and an away jersey with my favorite player's number", it's "I need one home, one away, one alternate home, and one alternate away...".  This is especially the case for schools that are followed nationally since there are a lot of bandwagon sales of jerseys when a team is successful or has particular street cred (think Georgetown Hoyas in the 80s, The U (YTM) in the 90s, and of course Michigan in the Fab Five era).

I imagine that Michigan sacrifices a not insubtantial amount of revenue for its devotion to uni tradition but certainly gains a measure of fan loyalty because of that same devotion (yellow piping in the away jerseys notwithstanding).

wile_e8

August 18th, 2010 at 6:31 PM ^

Well, I get the "alternate jerseys = more sales" part, I was talking more about the proxy war part.  Using the alternate jerseys against non-Nike schools would serve as a warning about what the school might be forced to do if they ever switch to Nike.  I'm pretty sure most Michigan fans would cringe at the thought of the team wearing something other than plain blue jerseys and yellow pants for a home game.

MGoShoe

August 18th, 2010 at 6:48 PM ^

...with that.  Of course, the Nike/Oregon relationship takes this trend to it's most ridiculous extreme and farcically, the negative reactions to the more outlandish unis has seemingly done little to prevent the establishment of the Ducks as a desirable jersey for the non-Oregon fan.  Oregon has to do this because of their special relationship with Nike/Phil Knight, but for other schools, it's a sell out, pure and simple. 

energyblue1

August 18th, 2010 at 7:29 PM ^

was so ugly it didn't even look like osu on the field......  I seriously had a buckeye fan try to tell me at the game how great they looked, in line at consessions stands....everyone including other buckeyes ripped him for it.

 

It's cool if you want to pimp  your teams gear and gotta have it.  Sorry, I refuse to buy the ugly pimped out stuff just because....  

ChiliDog

August 18th, 2010 at 6:22 PM ^

tOSU and it's fans have already convinced themselves that they're the 2010-11 nat champs. Please God let Nike sell 20 million jerseys to fans. In which case we win, the waste of premium fabric will only be a bitter reminder of how the buckeye nation never plans for the worse: a loss at home to a scrappy Michigan. It's happened before, and it will happen again. That jersey will serve as a friendly reminder.

BJ0017

August 18th, 2010 at 6:47 PM ^

To be honest i wish Michigan had stuck with Nike, i guess im partial to the look of the nike swoosh and the fabrics used in their jersey's rather than Adidas material that looks kind of like the old early 2000's nike fabric.... and the brands as jersey's im sure can be a plus or minus for potential recruits

ballertim87

August 18th, 2010 at 7:29 PM ^

I loved the Nike unis we had right before Addidas. (We have to stick with Ad due to the incomparable $ deal with have with them) The current ones are too shiny. Also, I must admit that I really like MOST of the Nike throwbacks that those teams wore last year.  OSUs were cool, BYU, Florida, TCU, LSU, FSU w/ the black helmet (but i think it looked dumb in all red)...

Texas was ok and Mizzou's were awful, Oregon's are normally obnoxious but their throwbacks were pretty cool, but...

THE BEST: Army with the camo helmets n pants from 2 years ago was THE coolest 1-time uniform changes i've seen (Navy's were decent):

MGJS SuperKick Party

August 18th, 2010 at 7:34 PM ^

I love this Army Uniform... so much so that I am willing to stink up the place with them in my Dynasty so I can use it. They have a new one for this year that represents their dress uniforms. Should be pretty cool. I am glad to see Nike take a good risk and make two teams look absolutely wonderful.

Mr. Robot

August 18th, 2010 at 7:01 PM ^

I've always liked Nike better than Adidas, but I'm glad we switched if it means we'd end up in some stupid alternate uniform some day. Honestly, I'm surprised that Ohio State is letting this happen a second year in a row. At least now we have ammo for when they try and tell us we're diminishing The Game.

I just hope they at least use their actual helmets again. Those ones form last year looked just straight up stupid. Woody is probably still spazing out in his grave over all this, and will be at least another year and a couple months apparently.

VictorValiant

August 18th, 2010 at 7:25 PM ^

Texas also had the Pro Combat uni's last year and no one noticed because Nike respected the traditional look of the Longhorns' uniform.  If Michigan had stuck with Nike, the aesthetics of the traditional uniforms wouldn't be compromised, but Michigan could have enjoyed the better technology in apparel and footwear.

Disclaimer: I am employed by Nike so you can call me biased.  However, I have seen first hand the amount of energy and attention that Nike has put into college football and it's pretty impressive how much research went into the traditions.  At an internal exhibit, every school's uniform was shown (before the season) and each one had a large album with stories, photos, and traditions described.  Just as a college football fan, it was extremely educational.

as for OSU, i've always thought their uniforms were ugly to begin with, so any change would be an improvement... or do I really want them to stay ugly?

jmblue

August 18th, 2010 at 7:57 PM ^

That's wonderful, but Nike might want to try learning how to negotiate with an ounce of professionalism and integrity next time.  Every time our contract expired they tried to nickel and dime the hell out of us and were deaf to reasonable requests we made.  In 2000-01 they cut off negotiations completely and forced us to pay them for merchandise, when we committed the cardinal sin of requesting a guarantee that their employees get paid the minimum wage (the Chinese minimum wage, mind you, not the U.S. one).  Pathetically, we crawled right back and signed a new deal.  When they tried to pull the same crap in 2007 we finally, rightfully, said the hell with it and went with a company that actually wants to partner with us.   

Incidentally, the OSU people aren't happy having a much crappier apparel deal than us.  We'll see who they sign with next time.

VictorValiant

August 18th, 2010 at 10:11 PM ^

I wasn't a part of the negotiations, but the story i have from the people directly involved in the negotiations (including a Nike attorney who is a Michigan alum) is that the sentiment was the same on Nike's side - that Michigan was unprofessional and really did not want to negotiate.  That Nike attorney put his Michigan stuff away from his office because the experience was so negative.  (I hope he got over it.)

Michigan's athletic department is finding out that the grass isn't greener on the other side.  When Dave Brandon took over, he surveyed the various teams about the service from Adidas, and the teams reported that Adidas' service was drastically worse than Nike's. 

Also, Adidas may have agreed to "living wage" and unaccounced inspection of their factories demanded by idealistic students, but it's a pipe dream to think they actually followed through on those agreements.  Michigan is too small of a blip and a low priority in their arsenal of teams and sports to make such a drastic change in their operations.  There is a bigger story of why Adidas wanted Michigan in that particular year, but I won't get into it.

back to OSU though, they are getting half the sponsorship money than Michigan is getting, and based on their recent success, they have a legitimate case for demanding more money.  I suspect that Nike will match the market rate for a successful program like theirs.

and back to the Pro Combat gear, the uniforms and the resulting media stories are great marketing for each of the schools.  high school kids eat this stuff up and Michigan is missing out of Nike's marketing efforts.  what is Adidas doing to promote Michigan's brand?

MGJS SuperKick Party

August 18th, 2010 at 7:31 PM ^

In my personal opinion, the pro combat uniforms were ugly last year with exception of Miami and TCU's helmet and pants. 

As much as I hate Ohio State, I really wish they would stop going for the quick dollar and stick with the normal uniforms, if they want a pro-combat uniform, keep it looking the same with the new fabric and flywire shoulders. Its a shame that Cash is king in our world, and people will do anything for a quick dollar.

Alabama is also one that is getting a pro combat uniform, most likely to play Auburn, what heritage do they have to fall back on? Their jerseys have been the same for as long as i can remember.

Next thing you know Penn State will have the offer in 2011. JoePa wont take it if they cant wear leather helmets though... jk

MGoShoe

August 19th, 2010 at 1:45 PM ^

...of sorts.

ESPN_BigTen RT @JeffSvoboda: Hearing Ohio State jersey for Michigan game more traditional than '09 - early '40s throwback with red helmets, gray pants