Athletic director Jennifer Cohen: "I’m going to go on record right now: Not everybody’s going to love (the new uniforms)."
Before the question was inevitably asked, Jennifer Cohen, um, dressed it head-first Thursday morning with the University of Washington Board of Regents as she pitched the Huskies’ new apparel deal with Adidas.
“I want to address the question that I get asked that most … and that is: What are the uniforms going to look like?” the Washington athletic director said, drawing laughs from the regents and the small gathering at Allen Library.
“I don’t have the answer for that, but I can tell you that we recognize that people are very passionate about uniforms. We recognize how much the uniforms matter to our university and to our fans and to our alums. We also recognize and know that we have incredible brand here and incredible tradition here, and our goal is to design uniforms that really honor the brand and the tradition of this university.”
Later Thursday, in a conference call with local media members, the first question Cohen was asked was about … uniforms.
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She gets it: People are excited about the next wave of Husky uniforms, set to hit the runway in the summer of 2019. The Huskies’ current Nike football uniforms were unveiled in 2014.
Nike has long been the leader in trendy college football uniforms, but Adidas has appeared to make up ground in its designs. Worldwide, Adidas sales gained strong momentum in 2017 while “benefiting from booming demand for retro shoes and a steady stream of new models that made the brand a hot commodity in the U.S.,” according to Bloomberg.
That momentum showed up on the football field last fall, with Adidas’ new uniforms designs at Nebraska, Miami and Indiana, among others, drawing positive reviews. (Or, well, at least not bad reviews: “Adidas’ college football uniforms are no longer universally terrible,” read one August 2017 headline from SB Nation.)
Cohen said uniform design was not discussed during negotiations on the Huskies’ 10-year, $120-million apparel deal with Adidas, formally approved by the UW Board of Regents on Thursday.
But, as she said, the Huskies’ feeling about their tradition, and their traditional purple-and-gold look. UW coach Chris Petersen has always favored tradition too, but he has been opened minded about an alternate uniform experiment once or twice a season. The Huskies wore all purple — including a chrome purple helmet for the first time — against California at home last October.
Cohen was honest in her assessment of what the reaction will be to the Adidas uniforms.
“I’m going to go on record right now: Not everybody’s going to love them,” she said. “But (tradition) will be the spirit behind our decision-making when we go into that process.”
What might Adidas have in store for the Huskies in 2019? For some clues, here is a look at a handful of Adidas-designed college football uniforms:
Along with Nebraska, Adidas has agreed to make Washington one of the company’s two “elite” programs, Cohen said. And like the Huskies, Nebraska have a strong tradition it typically doesn’t stray far from. Here is the Cornhuskers’ home uniform from 2017:
And alternate uniforms:
The Miami Hurricanes, the first school to sign an all-sports apparel deal with Nike in 1987, agreed to a 12-year deal with Adidas in 2015. Here is the “Miami Nights” all-black uniform design from 2017:
And Miami’s “305 Ice” alternate from 2015:
The Huskies join ASU as the only other Adidas-sponsored program in the Pac-12.
Indiana’s 2017 alternate:
Louisville’s military-tribute alternate: