Putting the college football uniform debate in perspective

September 15, 2011

I've been asked repeatedly about Maryland’s football uniforms, which have been getting a lot of attention lately. The uniform I wore at Penn State was always the same. As an alum of one of the most traditional programs in college football, I want to chime in on the debate over whether the uniforms should be so outrageous.

In sports, there are programs that have timeless traditions and some that are fighting to create them.

Everything about Penn State is consistent, including a coach, Joe Paterno, who has been there for more than 40 years. So when I think of all of the history connected to its football program and its success, what works is to keep the branding the same.

For Penn State, not changing uniforms works for the built-in audience that the school established years ago. Generation after generation of families attend the school, and everyone chants, "We are Penn State."

The Terrapins are not recognizable nationally or looked at as a premier school to play football, even though they have produced NFL players for years.

It's kind of like comparing Under Armour, Maryland’s sponsor, to Nike. One has been around and successful for years and the other is still working to get to that place.

Nike isn't going to have to do as much because it developed its market and now it's built in. While Under Armour is popular, the company still has to fight to get to Nike’s level.

So it fits for Maryland and Under Armour to collaborate in growing their brands. If they are successful, we will look back to this season as one of those defining moments for a program and a company that worked hard to build the way Penn State and Nike did all those decades ago.

Leave your comments here and chat with me on Twitter @LaVarArrington.

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