Uniforms seem to be a hot topic these days. Blame it on cabin fever, spring fever, or just lack of college football fever. There are articles written. There are message board debates. There are passionate comments about what looks good or doesn't. There are the old line Hokies who just want Chicago Maroon and Burnt Orange. There are folks out there who look at uniforms as a recruiting advantage. There are people out there who look at Virginia Tech as a marketing opportunity.
What's your favorite Virginia Tech football helmet? Bracket is set and voting begins Monday. @VTEquipment #Hokies pic.twitter.com/9U38ngBpXb— Clark Ruhland (@Hokie20) March 13, 2015
Like most things in the world, it revolves around money. The big time schools receive payment and merchandise for wearing a company's brand. Established schools set the market. For upstart programs, it may be as simple as free gear. The University of South Alabama received no cash from their deal with Nike. They received $50,000 in free product. On the other end of the spectrum, Michigan receives $3.8 million annually from Adidas. Michigan also gets $2.2 million in annual product. Does Michigan need help recruiting? Ask Jim Harbaugh. Since most of you believe uniform options help with recruiting, there is this:
The @adidas unis that #wisconsin and #Michigan wore today are awful. Looks like diapers... pic.twitter.com/PVOHaXdZOc— Aaron Steele (@SkolSteele) March 13, 2015
The Nike deal with Tech puts $250,000 to $275,00 in cash to V.T. per year. Nike also kicks in $900k-$1,000,000 worth of product annually. That's a lot of sneakers! It's really not that far out of line with other A.C.C. schools. When Ed O'Bannon decided to sue the N.C.A.A., the numbers came out. O'Bannon's attorney, under the Freedom of Information Act, got the raw data. As a business owner, Nike is paying for two opportunities. Every time there is a close up of a Va. Tech player on television, the "swoosh" is there. Every time an official jersey, hat, shirt etc., is sold the "swoosh" is there. It's a partnership. Even the Beamer Ball official twitter account is sponsored.
Pro Day 2015 #Hokies pic.twitter.com/fxFUGWWaEe— Beamer Ball (@Beamer_Ball) March 18, 2015
Notice the "swoosh?" This time of year, I understand that football is seemingly never coming back. I understand that we have huge issues surrounding the program. I know uniforms are fun fodder for the twittersphere, but lets focus on what matters. It's very simple in my book: wins and losses. If Under-Armour, Adidas, Nike, Puma, Polo, or Converse sponsors the Hokies, does it really matter? Who sponsored Ohio State last year? Are the sponsorships, the uniforms, the helmets winning us ball games? Sorry Tech fans. The fact we wear Nike over Adidas would not have helped us beat East Carolina last year. Special thanks to Jon Solomon from AL.com for the stats Follow him @jonsol Follow me @roybhatfield