College Football, and the Leisurely Escalation of Black Uniforms

Quick, what’s the biggest problem facing the sport of college football? Is it players getting paid? Not anymore! Is it lack of conference mobility for the sport’s biggest programs? Nope! Is it whether to allow alcohol to be sold at games? Slowly but surely, that’s becoming an obsolete topic of conversation.

So, if it’s none of those things, then what?

The biggest problem in college football is the rampant and flippant use of the color black in uniforms by programs that do not feature it as one of their official colors.

Y’see what I’m saying?

Now it would be fair to point out that there are a number of teams that count white as an official color, and yet every single program uses it as a “freebie”. While it’s certainly an argument worth noting, I would counter that this has been going on since the very beginning of uniforms, meaning the color white has been grandfathered in and is therefore null as a comparison.

The way I see it, what’s happening now is the color black is being converted into the same unrestricted status as white, and someone needs to stand up and say something! (For the sake of transparency, I do have a rooting interest in a team that dons black as an official color.)

Before I go any further, I want to make clear that I absolutely understand the impulse to employ the color black: it gives jerseys a fresh and exciting look which fires up the players, coaches and fans alike on gameday; it works as a tool to win recruiting battles; it’s slimming.

But it’s for precisely these reasons and more why nearly 20% of Power 5 schools have officially affiliated their teams with it, forgoing all other colors in the process! Would these schools have chosen this same course of action if they knew that one day the color black would become ubiquitous?

So how do we best proceed? Here’s my proposal:

In the off-season, declare that only teams that feature black as a core color will be allowed to use it on uniforms. Next, announce a grace period where every school is free to choose any two colors to represent their program, with the exception being that white will remain a universal third color for all. When the grace period has ended, color schemes are locked in, and teams must work within those constraints for future jersey design.

For many schools, I anticipate no change, as they choose to stick with the colors they currently wear. For schools that choose black, they do it with the knowledge that it’s now a protected color that can’t be raided by other teams looking for a cheap spark. For schools that treat white as a core color, this is an opportunity to add a third color to their palate. For the rest, tough decisions will have to be made.

Note: The above idea should be thought of as something to get the ball moving down the field, and I’m open to suggestions.

While I expect this hobby horse doesn’t carry much in the way of broad appeal right this moment, in a way it’s actually because of that very indifference that we find ourselves in this predicament at all! That said, henceforth when trying to sway someone over to our side of the argument, the delivery should be done with a light-hearted sincerity, so as to gently guide the person toward the light and to prevent any digging in from the opposition. Something in the vein of, “I kid, I kid … but seriously though.”

Remember, there’s no higher calling in life than putting your shoulder behind the biggest problem you can find and helping push it toward a solution. Now let’s go out there and win some hearts and minds!

Ready … break!

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