Could We See Ads on College Football Unis this Fall?

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 couldpossibly … 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.”

Yikes!

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!


Looking Ahead…

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!

The Ticker
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).
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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…

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.

Peace,

PH

27 comments to Could We See Ads on College Football Unis this Fall?

  • Ron S. | July 17, 2021 at 8:21 am |

    When the black alt uniforms debuted in 1998 for the Mets, those originally had the blue skyline patch. The following year when the Mets introduced the road black alt jersey and the all black cap, that’s when the black skyline patch appeared.

  • @MBDChicago | July 17, 2021 at 8:24 am |

    Wrigley Field September 21 1973. Burt Hooton defeats Steve Rogers 2-1

    • @mbdchicago | July 17, 2021 at 8:24 am |

      3-1

  • Steve | July 17, 2021 at 8:30 am |

    I’d buy a hat if your logo wasn’t on it

    • Ron Ruelle | July 17, 2021 at 9:20 am |

      You could always buy an official UniWatch seam ripper and carefully dismantle it yourself.

  • Nestor Chylak | July 17, 2021 at 8:36 am |

    Honoring the Richmond 34 is noble indeed. Can’t help thinking a team named “Flying Squirrels” detracts a bit from the dignity they deserve.

  • Adam Foxman | July 17, 2021 at 8:37 am |

    9/21/73 go Cubs go!

  • BurghFan | July 17, 2021 at 8:40 am |

    GTGFTS: Sept. 21, 1973 – Cubs 3, Expos 1. Steve Rogers (who singled in the at bat depicted on the board) lost his first appearance at Wrigley.

  • RICKAZ | July 17, 2021 at 9:09 am |

    As a USC alum, there has been much talk on the blogs about whether the Trojans should put player names on the jerseys. USC, Notre Dame, and Penn State, don’t have names on the jerseys, and this could hurt them if players can monetize their jersey sales. I can tell you the fans and alumni will freak out about this possibility of ads being added.

  • Scott | July 17, 2021 at 9:31 am |

    To me, whether it’s a political sentiment the player has on the jersey or an advertisement, it all amounts to the same thing: an effort to “look at me.”

  • Jamie Rathjen | July 17, 2021 at 9:35 am |

    When the Big 12 guy says “the rules are pretty specific as to what can go on the uniform,” he’s right, so, when looking at the rules, he can’t say that just anything can be worn as a patch unless he knows something that’s not publicly known.

    There is a very specific list of things that are not numbers that can appear on jerseys that did not change for the upcoming season:

    “Other than the player’s number, the jersey may only contain:
    Player’s name; School name; Mascot name; NCAA logo; Sleeve stripes; Logo for school, conference, mascot, postseason game, memorial, the military; Graduate or academic recognition as part of an institutional or conference logo; The letter “C” to identify a team captain; American flag; State flag.”

    These were already limited to 16 square inches, so that’s not new.

  • GH | July 17, 2021 at 10:17 am |

    Isn’t the dirt and grass by it’s very nature already camo?

    • GH | July 17, 2021 at 10:18 am |

      “its”, not “it’s”
      Fingers faster than my brain. Wish these comments had an edit…

    • Wade Heidt | July 17, 2021 at 1:51 pm |

      Yes, really good point to ponder. If it is grass and dirt, does it have to be camouflage at all? It is hiding from itself?

      Batter’s boxes were painting in for the game. Not crazy about a colour vs. colour of navy against black for this game. Vancouver Canadians are wearing their black alternate jerseys too much for my liking this year.

      https://twitter.com/HillsboroHops/status/1416232011740573698

  • Jay French | July 17, 2021 at 11:14 am |

    On the Breanna Stweart photo, it appears the Nike Swoosh is in the right location om the left hip of her jersey (the swoosh tail is right over her teammate’s wrist) so I would surmise this is a uniform misprint

  • Ty K | July 17, 2021 at 11:20 am |

    Out of curiosity, I just noticed the scoreboard at Wrigley refers to all the out of town games by city, except the White Sox. Have they always done this? Do teams in other cities with two teams (NYC,LA) do the same thing? Just wondering

    • Michael Emody | July 17, 2021 at 5:09 pm |

      At some point in the 80’s or 90’s the scoreboard changed from “SOX” to “CHICAGO” on the AL side, so they kind of downgraded the White Sox in the last few decades! The Sox and Cubs scores are always on the same level – in today’s scoreboard from 73, they were midway, forth from the top. Back in the first decades (it debuted in 38) the Chicago scores were on the top level. Now, both Chicago scores are on the lowest line. Some years both games were separated by red lines – now just the Cubs game is bordered in red. They’ve also gone with no lines, light green lines… it gets painted a lot!

  • Matt C | July 17, 2021 at 11:31 am |

    At what point do the universities become the advertiser?

  • StAugustine | July 17, 2021 at 11:49 am |

    Lurleen B. Wallace Community College? Lurleen was a virulent racist who was elected governor when her husband, George, also a virulent racist, could not run for a third term. Definitely not a Saint.

  • Brian | July 17, 2021 at 1:04 pm |

    I work at a university and deal with NIL issues. Most universities have adopted policies that say you can benefit from your name, image and likeness, but NOT while wearing any university marks.

    Think, advertisements with NFL players in team colors but not wearing their actual uniforms.

    • Jasper | July 17, 2021 at 6:18 pm |

      Do you know if the player is allowed to reference the school at all? For example, if an athlete signs up to do a radio ad for a local business, could he say “Hi, I’m John Doe, basketball player for Big State University…”

  • StLMarty | July 17, 2021 at 1:49 pm |

    Nobody beats the Biz…
    RIP

  • Mike | July 17, 2021 at 2:03 pm |

    Sorry, but the new proposed UNI WATCH hat looks like something Short Round from the Indiana Jones movie would wear. No thanks.

    • Patrick in MI | July 17, 2021 at 5:32 pm |

      Or Mr. Burns from a classic Simpsons episode…”mr burns baseball signals homer at the bat on Make a GIF” https://makeagif.com/amp/GAtVhO

  • Nicholas | July 17, 2021 at 2:37 pm |

    II’m sorry, but those caps are absolutely hideous.

  • Steve H. | July 17, 2021 at 4:06 pm |

    The Mr. Met picture is from 1998. The Mets introduced the black jerseys (with regular orange and blue skyline patch) and the black/blue hybrid cap that year.

    In 1999 the Mets introduced the black caps, black road jerseys, and black skyline patch/logo as well as all the black accessories and dugout wear.

  • AG | July 18, 2021 at 2:45 am |

    “I cannot imagine the NCAA (or any of its member conferences) would permit a jersey ad” They’ve already got ads on them. When advertisers like Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour pay the schools to put their logo on the college jerseys, instead of the schools paying these “manufacturers” to manufacture their jerseys, then that certainly qualifies as an ad