Ohio State football fans, at least most of them, do not like to see the uniforms messed with.
That has become obvious with the creation of an alternate uniform, something Nike has annually produced for the Buckeyes since the 2009 game against Michigan.
Nothing seems to get under the skin of Buckeye fanatics more than the team wearing anything other than its standard uniforms. The unveiling of an all-gray uniform paired with a black helmet for Saturday’s Penn State showdown has been received with more outcry.
The consensus feeling is the OSU uniform is sacred and should not be altered. Allowing Nike to change what the football team wears, albeit for one game a year, produces the perception that Ohio State is allowing money to damage its tradition.
There is certainly some truth to that. Nike and Ohio State have a deal that runs until 2033. The 15-year extension signed last year is worth $252 million.
For that kind of money, Nike is going to want to have some say in the uniform design. An alternate jersey offers something else to sell to fans. Even at $150 a pop, there are plenty of fans willing to shell out the money to wear what the team does.
Nike and Ohio State have tried to model most of the alternate uniforms after ones that were worn in earlier times.
This year’s look does not evoke the past. It is a more futuristic look, with the numbers having a camouflage pattern.
Regardless of what the uniform looks like, there are always going to be those that hate it. But the irony for those that decry the thought of messing with tradition is that the Ohio State football uniform has changed many times during the program’s history.
BUCKEYE INSIDER, exclusively in Friday's Examiner.
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