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.