Uniformz: Michigan Elects NOT to Wear Basketball Sleeves for Tournament

Submitted by MillerTime on February 27th, 2013 at 9:59 AM

Via twitter, @thomasbeisner, who hosts a University of Kentucky sports television show, reported earlier this morning that adidas schools will be wearing basketball uniforms with sleeves for the NCAA tournament.  He followed up that report with the caveat that Michigan (and early-season foe NC State) will NOT wear these jerseys.  The full release is from Sports Business Journal Daily article which is, unfortunately, behind a paywall. 

Link here for the financially-inclined: https://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Daily/Morning-Buzz/2013/02/27/adidas.aspx

This could have been a disaster.  Is it possible that the AD is getting the message that the fan base isn't too stoked about the Uniformz trend? Tweets pasted below:

Thomas Beisner @thomasbeisner

NCAA teams sponsored by adidas will wear short-sleeve uniforms in the NCAA Tournament.

Thomas Beisner @thomasbeisner

According to @SBJSBD, Michigan and NC State will not wear them. IU says they haven't heard and Louisville says they don't know specifics.


Mr. Yost

February 27th, 2013 at 11:43 AM ^

...you guys REALLY have to stop thinking that Dave Brandon is the one who decides this stuff.

Trust me, I'm going on 9 full years in athletics administration. 5 of that at the BCS level. Dave Brandon is fundraising...he's not sitting in some box Gladiator style giving a thumbs up/thumbs down to jerseys.

I GUARANTEE we've worn jerseys in MULTIPLE sports that Brandon doesn't like. Guarantee it.

This has a lot more to do with the TEAM than anything else.

If Coach B, the captians and the team wanted to wear these...we'd be wearing them. Period.

My guess is that we have shooters who don't want anything on their shoulders. We don't even have guys who wear the tight under armour/pro combat like undershirts like many other teams do. When I played, I HATED sleeves. It was just distracting to me.

This is absolutely something the coaches and Director of Basketball Ops discussed and decided they didn't want to do.

Even if Brandon wanted them, he's not going to MAKE any team wear something they're uncomfortable with. Football, Basketball, or any sport. He may press one way or another, but ultimately it's a team decision.

Dave Brandon is 100% more likely to say "ABSOLUTELY NOT!" to a jersey than "YOU MUST DO THIS" to a jersey. And the only time I can see him saying no is if he thought it hurt our brand. Like if we rolled out in metallic gold helmets with a blue block M in the middle.

Section 1

February 27th, 2013 at 2:45 PM ^

This is an interesting and credible post.

When you suggest that Brandon would not make any team memebers wear anything that was a distraction, or substandard, or otherwise undesired, I find it impossible to argue with you.  Indeed, the word we get is that many of the players just loved some of our most abominable recent uniformz.  Judging by some players' choices in tattoos, there's not much accounting for taste.

But there's another question; you already alluded to it.  It is whether Brandon can impose his will as the Brand Manager of Michigan Athletics, and say to adidas, "No.  Enough.  Michigan football and basketball have a certain traditional look, and we will not alter it."  We see that in their contracts with Nike, Alabama and Southern Cal are able to resist most if not all of the manufacturer's urges for variegated "tributes."

Is Michigan's adidas contract significantly different from the Nike contracts with Alabama and USC?  Do you think that Michigan is forced into more designz, essentially for the benefit of adidas sales?  Or do you think that Michigan is merely invited to pick out things that the players like, subject to Brandon's approval?

In my mind, the final arbiter is always Brandon.  Brandon always has the option to say that something is inconsistent with the brand.  Maybe Michigan's players really did veto the basketball jerseys with sleeves.  That one, it seems to me, ought to be very much left to the players.  But it also raises the question about why would other teams consent to sleeved jerseys?  Why, if so many basketball players are used to traditional sleeveless basketball jerseys and opposed to wearing new-fangled jerseys with sleeves, would other teams consent to the adidas design?


February 27th, 2013 at 3:55 PM ^

Exactly. Brandon can always say, "no, we're not messing with our Jerseys" and I'm sure the players would be just fine with that. I bet some of the Alabama or USC or Penn State players would dig clowniformz if given the choice, but I bet it's their ADs who send the message to Nike that they're not gonna mess with a great thing, so don't waste your time designing crap for us. 

snarling wolverine

February 27th, 2013 at 4:08 PM ^

Is it the AD or the head coach who makes that decision?  Brandon seems to be a softer target here so people go after him, but it could be that Hoke (gasp) is okay with the alternate uniforms, and so it goes.  I think it's likely that he - like most coaches nowadays - probably doesn't lose a lot of sleep over what uniforms his team wears.

The few schools that don't wear alternate uniforms (or at least not often) are generally those who either currently have, or recently had, control-freak head coaches, like Bob Knight, Joe Paterno and Nick Saban, who wouldn't tolerate change.  Their ADs probably were afraid to go against their wishes.





February 27th, 2013 at 5:31 PM ^

I'm not sure who makes those decisions at UM or elewehere, but I am pretty sure that both the AD and Hoke could have veto power over clowniformz. My educated guess based on limited character judgment is that Hoke doesn't mind either way (he's probably fine with whatever the players want or whatever Brandon wants) and Brandon might lean towards them because of the revenue (and what he's said about a mascot, etc.). Similarly, I bet Brandon could easily say "enough of this Special K crap, let's bring the focus back to the band" if he was so inclined.  

It's not like he picks every song or jersey, but it certainly seems like he gives the green light to his marketing/pr/branding people (who he played a role in selecting) to do whatever they want within certain limits. This whole kerfuffle is about the differences in where Brandon vs. each of us fans draws that line re: encroaching on our tradition vs. making profit. 


February 27th, 2013 at 5:01 PM ^

I'm not a big fan of all the uniform changes, but a lot people seem to be operating under the assumption that someone is forcing someone else to wear them. Either Brandon is forcing the teams to wear uniforms they don't want or Adidas is forcing Brandon to use uniforms he doesn't like. Maybe no one is forcing anyone to do anything. Maybe Adidas presented the athletic department with a new uniform and it was actually well received. Just because you (and most of the posters here) don't like all the uniforms, doesn't mean there's some coersion going on behind the scenes.

Like I said, I don't really care for them either. But I don't think there's some heavy hand forcing all this stuff on people who don't want it. And certainly Michigan is not in some contractual obligation that they can't get out of.

EDIT: And just for good measure, because it bears repeating: Stop acting like Adidas is alone is designing dumb alternative uniforms. Nike has put out more than their share of stupid looking special retro-tech unis.


February 27th, 2013 at 11:15 AM ^

Is there any chance that this is a PR move by the NBA through Adidas to cover up some of the ink that has permeated the league?  I know it isn't a new concern, but the league seems overly obsessed with their "thug" image and I would bet they view tattoos as part of that image.  I do not share this feeling and have a tattoo myself.  Just wondering if there could be some reasoning behind these hideous jerseys.

Edit:  Please understand I do not agree with this if it is the reasoning, I'm just making an observation.


February 27th, 2013 at 3:33 PM ^

/tin-foil hat time

I honestly think there is a reason but it has nothing to do with tattoos. The NBA has been heavily considering adding advertisements to jerseys, in my view this is just a way for the NBA to add extra ad-space to uniforms. Adidas has the NBA contract. The NBA says "Hey Adidas, start brainstorming ways to incorporate ads onto jerseys." Adidas adds sleeves. In reality, NBA/basketball jerseys offer little surface area for ads, but the addition of sleeves provides some nice ad patch real-estate.

/end tin-foil hat time


February 27th, 2013 at 11:08 AM ^

Different sport, but weren't there some football games in which some players were wearing different (i.e., old version) jerseys because the special alt ones were somehow functionally worse? Like they were too stretchy and/or ripping too readily or something. I seem to remember players coming out after the half in different jerseys.


February 27th, 2013 at 12:24 PM ^

I thought the o line changed their jerseys because they were getting held partly because of excess fabric below the arm pits. I don't know how those bball jerseys would feel to wear for 40 minutes. Maybe they feel the same as a regular tank top jersey, but probably not. But the style change isn't for improved function but purely cosmetic and man does that seem stupid as hell.

Why would any coach essentially say "I know this isn't what you are used to wearing but why don't we switch things up for our most important games of the year"


February 27th, 2013 at 10:43 AM ^

Adidas logic:

Let's make new uniforms for fans to buy.  If fans don't like them they aren't any less to buy a uniform entirely- so they still will buy our old uniforms.  If fans like them they may also buy a whole new uniform

I doubt Adidas cares too much about players performance or comfort in the jerseys- unless it becomes a big pushback that would push schools away from Adidas.  Even if they are universaly panned and players say they suck- it won't hurt Adidas financially unless school drop them.

Uniforms are going to keep changing because it makes money- and no one turns down money.  KU-MIZZOU split for money, A&M and Texas, MD and Duke, etc.... If there's money in it- it will happen- no matter the tradition, fan reaction, or anything else.

I don't like the uniforms fwiw- but I also don't feel inclined to vomit or feel any repulsion to them.  I'd like our retros all the time..

French West Indian

February 27th, 2013 at 11:45 AM ^

...at this point, I'm ready to just let the kids show up in whatever they want and then let the teams go shirt vs. skins

This uniform business is just getting really fucking ridiculous.  It's literally the easiest part of the game and yet in the past couple years it has been relentlessly tinkered with & shit upon.


February 27th, 2013 at 10:33 AM ^

Unfortunately, this is much more likely a result a Beilein and the team giving a strong HELL NO to the idea than DB suddenly caring about fan opinion.


February 27th, 2013 at 10:46 AM ^

Any time $, uniforms, or tradition comes up he will ultimately be called out in a thread....

I get why some people dislike him- but it gets old... Especially when the sports programs he oversees are all on the upswing and financially incredibly well off (and for many cases he deserves tons of credit for the upswings due to hires and facility changes)...


February 27th, 2013 at 11:18 AM ^

I wish I could upvote this eleventy-billion times.  So many people bitch about Dave Brandon and how he's doing "anything to make a buck".  No shit: you want elite teams?  You need elite facilities.  How do you get elite facilities?  Money.  It's amazing how many people view that as so appalling or negative, when in reality, our athletics are on a huge upswing. 


February 27th, 2013 at 11:25 AM ^

By that logic he could slap a 2-foot advertisement for Burger King on the football jerseys and a State Farm ad on the helmets and you'd be OK with it because it's making money for the necessary facilities?

If that sounds appalling, then please realize that everyone has a line they don't want crossed, and that once you've got an enormous pile of money, you don't need to wreck everything that fans like in order to look for more.