By Phil Hecken
Greetings and Good Saturday Morning, Uni Watch readers. I hope everyone had a good week and (for most of us in the northern hemisphere) you’re all dealing with the summer heat. It’s HOT I tell ya!
July isn’t usually big for uniform news, but we’ve already had a couple big stories, and the one I’m about to relay almost ended up slipping through the cracks.
You’ve probably heard by now about the new “NIL” or Name, Image, Likeness policy that has been adopted by the NCAA on an interim basis — the rule was adopted after several states enacted legislation — and basically permits athletes to profit from the use of their NIL. Many have argued this has been a long time coming, while others feel that star athletes already receive plenty of preferential treatment and perks (full tuition, room & board, etc.). But that’s neither here nor there — because one of the unforeseen consequences of the new policy could … possibly … result in ads on unis? How so? Well, it’s tricky.
The possibility was first broached at the Big 12 conference’s media days on Thursday, when the conference’s Coordinator of Officials, Greg Burks, noted a technicality in the NCAA rules has created a gray area that might permit individual athletes to add ads on their uniforms this upcoming season.
Here’s the key takeaway from Burks:
The NCAA has now OK’d a 16-square-inch patch, four inches by four inches, for any sentiment that you want to hold on to. So unity, whatever it may be, and the individual player can wear that. Not everyone has to wear that. So when you ask me about NIL, if (a player) wants to put (a sponsor), does he have that right? Who screens whether or not that’s valid? I don’t have those answers.
Talk about a potential can of worms being opened. We’re not talking about the NCAA itself seeking ad revenue by permitting an ad patch (like we’ve now seen with NBA uniforms, MLB umpires, and NHL helmet advertising) where at least the ad is for a single advertiser and all patches/helmet logos are alike. The “blank slate” of a 4″ x 4″ patch could be used for just about anything, including an ad, should the player try to pursue that route.
Burks wasn’t quite finished, however, and he put the possibility into actual dollars (and lack of sense):
I do know that if I could put a patch on (my jersey), and you pay me 100 grand for that patch, I’d look at it. But the rules are pretty specific as to what can go on the uniform.
So who makes that determination? According to the linked article, “Burks said that determination could be at the discretion of the on-field referee, who may have to radio in to Burks himself at the Big 12 replay center. Calls may even go higher up the chain on a game day, Burks said, to the Big 12 Commissioner’s office, illustrating just how broad all of the NIL rules are at this point.”
It’s one thing to have a big (4″ x 4″ is pretty big) patch that says “BLACK LIVES MATTER” or “EQUALITY” or similar sentiment, and quite another to have an ad patch. And this just shows how fluid the whole “NIL” situation is.
Honestly, I cannot imagine the NCAA (or any of its member conferences) would permit a jersey ad, but according to Burks, at the moment it’s not out of the realm of possibility. I’m all for student athletes being able to profit from NIL (as opposed to the university or NCAA), but it’s another thing to permit kids to become walking billboards — even IF they’d be the ones pocketing the change.
15 years ago I’d have said there’s no way uniforms in the United States would have ads (excluding of course MLS and other soccer leagues), but clearly that has now changed (we can thank Adam Silver for opening the door, but let’s face it…every league is jonesing for uni-ad revenue and it doesn’t seem as though the fans are proving any kind of effective resistance).
Again, this is by no means a done deal or anywhere near something we can expect this fall, but the fact that the mere possibility exists is reason for pause. I’m not one for conspiracy theories, but what a creative “back door” has possibly been set ajar here. “It’s not our ad, it’s the kids’!”
It’s probably just a matter of time before we see uni ads on NHL jerseys, and MLB jerseys probably won’t be far behind that. Obviously, once those two sports cave, the NFL will be quick to follow (ads have been on practice jerseys for some time now). The last place I would ever expect an ad would be on a college jersey — but that may be coming sooner than anyone thought.
Let’s hope the NIL “rules” are adjusted so that no student/athlete can use the 16″ square patch for any type of ads.
Your thoughts? Nothing to worry about or something to watch?
Guess The Game…
from the scoreboard
Today’s scoreboard comes from ojai67.
The premise of the game (GTGFTS) is simple: I’ll post a scoreboard and you guys simply identify the game depicted. In the past, I don’t know if I’ve ever completely stumped you (some are easier than others).
Here’s the Scoreboard. In the comments below, try to identify the game (date & location, as well as final score). If anything noteworthy occurred during the game, please add that in (and if you were AT the game, well bonus points for you!):
Please continue sending these in! You’re welcome to send me any scoreboard photos (with answers please), and I’ll keep running them.
The “BEST OF” Kreindler’s Korner
Hey guys & gals. You’ve enjoyed Kreindler’s Korner for several years now, mostly on the weekends, on Uni Watch, and we’re still doing the “Best of” until Graig can re-devote his efforts to new writeups for paintings you haven’t seen. Hopefully that will be soon!
Here’s today’s offering:
Title: “Dave Brown, 1920” (color study)
Subject: Dave Brown, 1920
Medium: Oil on linen mounted to board
Size: 5” x 7”
Dave Brown was widely considered one of the best pitchers of the early 1920s. The lefty helped guide the Chicago American Giants to the Negro National League’s first title in 1920, going 13-3 with a 1.82 ERA (also winning the league’s first ERA title with that figure). He continued his success over the next two seasons, with his club winning the title in both 1921 and 1922. Notably, during the 1922 postseason, he pitched in relief during the decisive game 5 against the Atlantic City Bacharach Giants, pitching 14 innings of shutout ball (giving up only 6 hits and a walk) and striking out 12.
Brown also pitched for the Leopardos de Santa Clara in the Cuban Winter League during the 1922-23 and 1923-24 seasons, the latter being a part of a team considered to be the best in the history of Cuban ball.
His career, however, came to an abrupt end in 1925. The reason? Murder. Read more about it here.
Also, to fill in some of the blanks is research from the great Gary Ashwill.
Here Dave is pictured with the Chicago American Giants in 1920. This is one of 200+ such paintings of mine that were on display at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in the spring of 2020.
Thanks, Graig! You can (and should!) follow Graig on Twitter.
Click to enlarge
Should this be the new Uni Watch cap? Paul here. We recently sold through the last of the Uni Watch Classic Caps (thank you!). In case you missed it on Friday, I’ve been fooling around with some crude mock-ups of some other cap designs we could do with Ebbets Field Flannels, and the one I like best is shown above. What do you think?
Before you answer that question, here are some details:
• This would be an eight-panel cap (not the more common six-panel) with green piping as shown in the mock-up.
• Just like the Classic Cap, this one would be 100% wool and made in the USA by Ebbets.
• That green brim is a Kelly green. As I recently explained, Ebbets no longer has the shade of green we were using for the Classic Cap. I don’t want to a solid-Kelly cap, but I think the combination of Kelly, grey, and piping works really well.
• Speaking of the brim: The photo that I used for the mock-up showed a cap with a soft visor. But if I go ahead with this product, it will have a conventional stiff visor.
• No visible maker’s mark, of course.
• It would be available in fitted sizes. If enough people expressed interest in an adjustable version, I’d do that as well.
• It would be available to ship around the end of September.
• It would not be cheap — based on the quote Ebbets has given me, the price would be something like $43 plus $6 shipping.
I will not go ahead with this product unless I’m certain that a significant number of you are willing to purchase it. I might even require pre-orders, or at least deposits. But for now, I’m just trying to gauge how many people are interested, based on the details and pricing I’ve just spelled out. If that’s you, please send me a note indicating that you’d be on board. If you want to list your preferred size (or if you’d prefer an adjustable instead of fitted), that would also be helpful.
Thanks in advance for your feedback — much appreciated. Now back to Phil!
As the calendar nears the month of August, you’re probably all aware that Paul will be taking his annual sabbatical from the blog, leaving me in charge of the weekdays.
And as always, I can’t get through the whole month without a little help from the readers, so I’m putting out the call once again.
This time around, I’m looking for reader submissions in two categories — the Olympics (which begin later this month and run through August 8th) and General Interest. For the Olympics correspondents, I’m looking for either historic uniforms for a given discipline, or a review of the uniforms being worn by individuals or teams in any given event (i.e. wrestling, basketball, volleyball, track and field, etc.) or both. These would run during the first week of August.
If the Olympics aren’t your bag, but you’d like to propose and submit an article of interest to the Uni Watch readership — I’m all ears! Every summer you guys come through with some amazing research, concepts and other fantastic uniform-related materials, and I’ll be happy to feature your work on here again during the month.
So, if you’re interested in contributing something Olympics or uniform-related, please Shoot me an e-mail (Phil.Hecken@gmail.com) and let’s discuss! Looking forward to seeing what you guys have in store for 2021!
By Anthony Emerson
Baseball News: The Cardinals will retire Ted Simmons’s No. 23 and unveil a statue of him by the end of the month (from Kary Klismet). … With the Mets bringing back the BFBS jerseys but without the blacked-out skyline sleeve patch, reader Todd Densen did some digging and discovered an old pic of Mr. Met in a BFBS jersey but with the blue skyline sleeve patch, matching the ones the players will be wearing now, but not the ones the players were wearing back when the BFBS jersey was in regular rotation. This begs the question: did Mr. Met always have a blue-skyline sleeve patch? Did the players have a blue-skyline sleeve patch for a time and we collectively missed it? … The Richmond Flying Squirrels, Double-A affiliates of the Giants, wore jerseys last night honoring the Richmond 34. In 1960, 34 Black college students staged a sit-in at a whites-only lunch counter to protest segregation. They were arrested and convicted of trespassing. The Supreme Court overturned their convictions in 1963 (from Bennie Concord). … Even fields are getting camo-washed now, as the Hillsboro Hops have put camo on the home plate circle (from Wade Heidt). … The Northwoods League’s Rockford Rivets played as the Peaches last night for their A League of Their Own promotion (from Wes Huett).
NFL News: What are the greatest player nicknames in NFL history? USA Today thinks it has the answer (from Joe Wener).
NBA News: McLaren has placed Phoenix Suns logos on their cars for this weekend’s British Grand Prix. Suns co-owner Jahm Najafi is also a co-owner of the McLaren team (from multiple readers). … Speaking of the Suns, their arena has a ridiculous new corporate name (from @ThatRodneyGuy). … In this pic of Team USA, Breanna Stewart is either wearing her shorts backwards or has a misprinted pair — the star is supposed to go behind the stripe, not in front of it (from Rob Esguerra).
Soccer News: Arsenal unveiled their new home kit yesterday (from multiple readers). … New kits for English Championship side Queens Park Rangers (thanks, Jamie). … Also from Jamie, League One club Sunderland has unveiled their new kits. … One more from Jamie: Barcelona have unveiled their second shirt. … New kits for Polish club Pogoń Szczecin (from Ed Żelaski). … New home jersey for Mexican giants Club América. Note how the Home Depot ad is inverted on the women’s kit — odd (from @SDubs35). … The Monterey Bay USL Championship club has a name — the Union — and a logo now (from @mustbe_lys).
Grab Bag: F1 driver Lando Norris has a special helmet design ahead of the British Grand Prix. On a related note, W Series driver Alice Powell also has a special helmet, designed by fellow driver Abbi Pulling, who’s making her debut this weekend (thanks, Jamie). … Lewis Hamilton will also wear a special helmet for the British Grand Prix (from @GriffinBSmith). … New athletic and academic logos for Lurleen B. Wallace Community College in Alabama (from Kary Klismet).
Uni Tweet of the Day
(Found completely separately from Wade’s ticker submission)
Camo home plate circle? I mean this shit jumped the shark long ago, but this is a whole other level of aquatic sport jumping…
Camo Uniforms, Camo Dirt. Salute to service night Hillsboro Hops. Great job crew – Brett, Vince and Kendall. pic.twitter.com/OsJmPTHLCi
— Samuel King (@IAmBrotherKing) July 16, 2021
And finally… that’ll do it for today. Another deep set of clouds on the horizon precluded a sunset photo from yesterday, but I did get to see a pretty amazing one Thursday evening.
You guys have a great Saturday and I’ll catch you back here tomorrow morning.