Sunday, January 8, 2012

New Jerseys, Old Athletics

This morning, on Sunday Morning (CBS), an article ran about the ever changing football uniforms for the Oregon Ducks at Oregon State University. According to the segment, the Rose Bowl winning team “never wears the same uniform twice”. They even introduced shiny new helmets that got a lot of oohhs and aahhs during one of their games. The trend of designing flashy uniforms to increase the hype and marketability of a team is not just for the Ducks; University of Maryland recently released a new version of their traditional jerseys. (A Gridiron Fashion Statement)

Of course, I would be remiss if I did not ask the question that looms in the minds of Student Affairs/Academic Affairs professionals everywhere: who is paying for this? Another question I need to raise is: how much money is being cut from academic programs, scholarships, or department budgets to make up for the extravagant new uniforms? Even if the money is not being funneled away from the rest of the school, why should the extra funds they (apparently) have to frivolous spend on the cost of designing new uniforms not be spent on helping the rest of the collegiate community? Why not share the wealth?

Why is it that athletic departments appear to have a bottomless budget for player recruitment, uniform creation, and coaches’ salaries? Yet, when the rest of the school needs money to retain quality teaching staff or provide need-based aid for students, there is no money left? As I wrote in my last rant on athletics, I understand that sports programs bring in students and increase morale amongst the student body. But, I wonder how much money and resources they steal (or absorb, to be less accusatory) from other areas of the college or university?

Nothing will change—I get it. However, that does not mean we should stop rallying against the opulent style of athletic departments that drain the financial well dry, leaving the rest of us cutting budgets and praying there will be funding next year. 


  1. Nike provides the uniforms for free.

  2. And it's the University of Oregon, not Oregon State.

  3. Donors can give to a school with specific instructions that the money benefit a certain department or program, e.g. athletics. It's a complicated and frustrating process, but it means that state, federal and tuition funds are not being reallocated toward athletics...donors are choosing to inflate the budget of the athletic programs instead of academic departments or other student services. Unfortunately, it's not a matter funneling money out of student affairs and into the new uniforms/stadium/coaching salaries, it's a matter of alums choosing how and where to spend their money.

  4. A very few alumni at my school have decided to allocate their funds to creating a new football team. This is all well and great but we are a school who is busting at the seams. We have no room for more students in on-campus housing and as a residential college this is a big problem. When this program is up and running and these new kids are brought in specifically for the new athletic team, they will only be replacing other students who deserved to be here as much as they did, only they didn't play sports. If the Alumni cared about the school, they would have allocated their funds into a more useful cause like a new residence hall or classrooms. That is what we need more of. Not athletics.

  5. Like it was said above, Nike gives the uni's for free since one of Oregon's famous alums is Phil Knight. Yes, the same Phil Knight who is the co-founder and chairman of Nike.