It’s official: Nike screwing with LSU uniforms

Well, it looks like my beloved LSU Tigers are about to be caught up in the big-money marketing push of Nike and roll out “futuristic” uniforms for the Arkansas game Nov. 28.

UPDATE 3: The LSU Nike uniforms in their full abominable glory.

UPDATE 2: More details on the uniform design from Nike.

UPDATE 1: LSU A.D. Joe Alleva confirms this oh-so-special event for LSU fans Nike that is a real special honor:

We will soon be unveiling an exciting one-game change to the LSU football uniform as part of Nike’s Rivalry uniform program that will be a tribute to LSU teams of the past. Our coaches and players are excited to be participating in this program that is being employed by a number of other major schools across the country because it offers a product with cutting-edge fabric and technology. The uniforms, which will debut on on Sunday, November 22, will feature a unique design with a throwback element that Tiger fans will enjoy for our season finale against Arkansas. This is a one-time uniform adjustment to honor our past. We have no plans to make any permanent changes to the traditional LSU uniform.

Wow, cutting-edge fabric? Sign me up! To hell with all the LSU tradition Mr. Alleva has no doubt soaked up in the past 16 months. Can’t wait for the full view of the “unique design with a throwback element” (I’m guessing the different color of gold is the “throwback element”). Note that he makes it clear that LSU is only willing to sell out its traditions for Nike dollars for this one game. That’s second only to not actually selling out LSU’s traditions to Nike at all, I suppose. And I wonder how Mr. Alleva’s masters at Nike feel about him spilling the beans about LSU’s participation a week before Nike planned the big unveil.

The very alert folks at Friends of The Program apparently dug deep into the web assets of Nike to uncover the yet-to-be-unveiled remaining participants in this Pro Combat marketing gimmick that I suppose pays football programs a butt-load of money to ditch their own uniforms for special – and generally really ugly – new “pro combat” Nike getups.

And LSU is on the list.

So far the only image floating around of the LSU Nike abomination is this:

Nike's LSU uniform abomination pro combat

Nike's LSU uniform abomination

I also did some digging in Nike’s source code and discovered that Nike will announce the LSU uniform on November 20 and unveil the actual hideousness November 23. That, I assume, is timed for the Tigers to wear this monstrosity against Arkansas in the season finale that weekend.

And Friends of The Program is correct – though it’s hard to believe – that the tagline for LSU’s jersey is “COCHON DE LAIT“. Yes, the suckling pig. To digress for a second, the other taglines Nike is using are “GOOD GUYS WEAR WHITE” for Virginia Tech, “DON’T BACK DOWN” for TCU, “EARNED” for Ohio State, “FEAR THE SPEAR” for Florida State, “STAKE OUR CLAIM” for Oklahoma, “FINISH THE MISSION” for Florida, “IT ONLY TAKES ELEVEN” for Texas, “BEAST MODE” for Missouri and “THE U KNOWS” for Miami.

LSU’s is “suckling pig”. Um, ok …

If you know one thing about me, it’s that I don’t want you to screw with LSU tradition. I don’t like that stupid Eye of the Tiger painted on the field, and I sure as hell don’t want Les Miles, Joe Alleva and Mike Martin selling out LSU’s uniform to Nike. Which is exactly what they are doing. Maybe the fact that none of those gentlemen have any significant history with LSU – Miles has not yet reached five years there; Alleva and Martin are under two each. Their combined tenure at LSU just barely totals more time than I spent in school there – doesn’t give them the appropriate reverence for things like LSU’s football uniforms.

I will be in Baton Rouge that weekend because our Thanksgiving rotation is set to have us in Louisiana the years LSU and Arkansas are playing at Tiger Stadium. My plans had been to go to the game. But I won’t go watch LSU in these uniforms. I don’t go to games to watch a Nike infomercial. I go to games to see LSU, and LSU looks like this:

Proper LSU uniform

LSU’s football program, athletic department and administration is choosing its association with Nike and the dollars being delivered over its fans. Their choice – fine. But I won’t be a participant in this. I’ll watch it on TV and spend my money that would have gone to the athletic department someplace else.

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13 Responses to “It’s official: Nike screwing with LSU uniforms”

  1. Scott says:

    So your saying I can have your tickets? Mario will be in town and this is really his only chance to catch a game, so I expect we will be out there.

  2. Cap'n Ken says:

    Tickets are still available for Arkansas.

  3. rantanamo says:

    You know, these may be throwbacks for your school. The helmet definitely looks like an LSU throwback from the 40s. Not to mention OU, Texas and Ohio St’s “futuristic” Nike Pro Combat unis are actually throwbacks. Each uni is simply a showcase for Nike to show what can be done with their new uniform tech. As you can see with VT, Miami and TCU, radical prints can be done. As you see with Texas and OU’s, plain jane throwbacks or traditional uniform looks can be done with the new technology integrated as well.

  4. Cap'n Ken says:

    @rantanamo – If these are “throwbacks”, they would be a real stretch to reflect the ’40s uniform:

    And throwback to the ’40s? Not exactly a stellar decade for the program. If they were doing throwbacks, the late ’50s would seem logical, but all you have to do for that is put numbers on the helmets instead of the LSU logo.

    But as you said, this is a “showcase for Nike …”. Why do I want my program to be a showcase for Nike? I want my program to be a showcase for LSU.

  5. Al says:

    Stop crying, its one game that will help your program tremendously, first the players are going to be very excited with the new uniforms
    second it will generate additional revenue for your programs
    Third it will help with recruiting, the kids do care about this stuff
    fourth it shows them that the school is a elite programs, not all nike schools are being able to do this, if you look, are any of these schools not of some short of winning presitge.
    It is only going to be one game so give everyone a break!
    It could also may not be up to the athletic dept., your head coach has the overall say so in this

  6. Cap'n Ken says:

    @Al – Ah, yes, criticism = “crying”. You detail your intelligence with that comment.

    Perhaps I’m in the minority, but that makes no difference to me. I don’t believe players, coaches, short-term revenue or anything is more important than the program itself. And the program includes the identity, which LSU thankfully exists in the group of schools that values its traditional identity.

    I’ll give you a point on the “elite” thing as a compliment, though TCU and Missouri aren’t exactly in that company.

    It’s one game, but that’s one game too many for me. Nobody else has to share my view, but this Nike infomercial is not something I’ll pay to see.

  7. Wild Bill LSU Class of 1980 says:

    I concur completely with Cap’n Ken that my “Dear Ol’ LSU” has sold out to NIKE. If you want actual throwback uniforms, then have gold pants with black shoes. Also, the helmets should have the old Ridell suspension instead of modern air-filled foam cushions. Of course, the old stripe pattern, which resembles NY Giants Away jersey, in purple for LSU white would be acceptable. Otherwise, it just is not the Tigers without yellow (gold) helmets, white jersey with shoulder loop stripes, and yellow (gold) pants. “Duke Boy” Joe Aleva should have told Nike to “stuff it!!!”

  8. CG says:

    Those are absolutely horrid. The VATech and Miami versions are possibly the ugliest uniforms in the history of sport. I don’t mind so much swapping up a color scheme for 1 game – but to wear a Buck Rogers outfit is embarrassing.

  9. dallas razorback says:

    Cap’n Ken, as a fan of a team who used to have a clean, crisp, traditional look, I greatly appreciate your stance against the Pro Combat uniforms.
    Since Petrino has come to town, the Hogs have gone from looking like a properly outfitted SEC team, to looking like they should be playing Carencro in the state quarterfinals.
    Even if it’s only for one game, it’s a sign that athletic departments are becoming lackey’s for the Nike’s and Adidas’s of the world.
    When I saw Arkansas debut their new outfits at media day before last season, I cringed at their ridiculous appearance. All I could think was
    that we now look like a crappy high school team and how much it cheappened the appearance of the program.
    I would hate to see the Tigers get away from their current uniforms. They always look great and you never have to ask the question of who’s on tv.
    I hope there’s a lot of fan backlash against the uni’s they wear next Saturday. It would be great to see.

  10. Drew says:

    They aren’t the best thing in the world, but if we can attain more money for a school that is taking some budget cuts then we have to jump at the chance. The money made in this deal might be paying for renovations toward the student union or helping build the new Business College Complex.

    We might not approve of the jerseys, but think of what that money is doing for the school.

  11. soonerinlOUisiana says:

    In a book I have about OU’s first 100 years of football, there is an old B&W photo from an OU-LSU matchup (1950 Sugar Bowl?) where the LSU helmet appears to be the “metallic” gold, so I’m guessing these are throwbacks. Nike used a throwback look for OU at Texas Tech, which was essentially a red version of Penn State. FWIW, Pro-combat didn’t seem to produce any advantage there, and UT struggled at A&M wearing those unis as well. If they were going to screw with the LSU uniform for one game, they should have used the white helmet and pants with gold jerseys that LSU has worn on occasion. Those look pretty sharp.

  12. Jim Hobson says:

    It’s marketing pukes meddling with “image and branding” which means new items to sell. They’ve already made pro football uniforms look goofy. The only team that is safe is Penn State because the only they have made to their uniform was when they quit wearing leather helmets, lol.

    If schools want a better image they need players that don’t get arrested, not new uniforms! Leave the uniforms alone.

  13. MIKE says:

    No one is selling anyone out. Gimme a break and get off your high-horse. I honestly thought they looked great! I’m an avid LSU fan going back to when I was a little kid (over 20 years ago). First of all..LSU has steadily changed their uniforms bit by bit over the years and LSU has even brought out the white helmets, gold jerseys, etc…It’s LSU’s colors so what’s the big deal? I have min-helmets of the white ones, 2003 champs, and if they’re available I’ll buy a mini for these. So what if Nike developed them? Their jerseys are made by Nike anyway! Look at those atrocities that Oregon wears! They didn’t put the Nike logo on the helmet or anything. why is it everytime a team changes their uniforms some “hardcore traditionalist” blows their stack. It’s 2009 anyway..even if they were permanent, you root for the team..NOT the uniform!

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