Don’t make a uniform decision in recruiting when it comes to your future.
While they play different schedules and in different conferences, Penn State, Alabama, Oklahoma, USC, Notre Dame, Texas, Ohio State, and Michigan all have something in common. That is, while they’re all traditional Division I football powerhouses, they’ve also all stuck with the same general uniform look for years.
While those universities have all broken out the occasional alternate or throwback recently, more and more schools now use flashy, unconventional uniform looks as a recruiting tool almost every week. However, if you’re weighing the merits of different schools and programs, a team’s uniform selection should be your last consideration.
We get it. Endless color variations and combinations, and unorthodox styling can be cool. Every season, those looks evoke reactions ranging from “Wow!” to “What were they thinking?” And the trend has spread to just about every sport, at every level. Ultimately, however, when making your college choice, your decision should be based not on a uniform, but what that uniform stands for.
Love is blind. Justice is blind. And, when it comes to your recruiting process, you should be “uniform blind.” It’s one thing to be taken with a campus, a program’s traditions, or even the facilities and amenities, but choosing a school based on their uniforms is, as Jerry Seinfeld put it, essentially basing your choice on clothes.
Look At The Big Picture
Consider a program’s flashy uniforms as part of a sales pitch. In many ways, flashy uniforms are like the fancy features on a car or electronic gadget. They may look cool and they may impress your friends, but in the long run, how often will you really use them?
There’s nothing wrong with being interested in a school because of their game day looks, but since you’ll also be going to school five days a week, pay more attention to what a school can offer you academically. Instead of the uniforms, put more weight on a school’s academics. Do the big picture research to see everything a school has to offer beyond athletics.
That research can be as simple as seeing if a school offers the major you’re interested in, the graduation rates of that school’s student-athletes, types of academic assistance offered, or even the availability of academic scholarships, financial aid, and grants. Consider every element of a school to make sure it will fit you as well as the team uniforms will.
Find Your Preferred Campus Style
Once you’ve narrowed the schools where you might want to spend four years, visit them in person to see how they fit you. Then, think about what you’re looking for. Is it a big school with big class halls, lots of activities, and something always going on, academically and socially? Or, are you looking for a smaller school, with smaller classes with fewer distractions and a more intimate campus, but with a broader sense of community among the student body? Or something in between?
Your lifestyle while in college will have a much bigger impact on your college experience than the game day sartorial style. Make sure the campus you choose complements your lifestyle while you’re in college.
Focus On Your Life, Not The Look
For almost all college athletes, the scholarship and the degree you earn will be more important to the rest of your life than the uniform you’ll wear several times over the course of four years. Fashions and style can change. For example, at the professional level in the 1990’s everyone wanted to include teal (or purple, black, or silver) in their uniforms or logos. And, while a uniform can change every week, remember that choosing a school is a long-term commitment.
Finally, remember that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with dreaming of wearing the Michigan maize and blue or sporting the weekly assortment of colors and designs of the Oregon Ducks. Just make sure you have as much passion for everything the school has to offer, beyond the game day fashions.
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