The University of Michigan currently has an athletics apparel deal in place with Adidas, which has resulted in some silly looking alternate football uniforms in recent years such as these, these and these. And don’t even start with the basketball uniforms. At an open forum discussion with students, Michigan Athletics Director Jim Hackett said the university will evaluate the top three options for a future uniform apparel partner; Adidas, Nike and Under Armour.
“In my first months here, the question of which brand we wear is a big one,” Hackett said in response to the very first question of the night, according to The Michigan Daily. “We’ve organized — this is a secret — a project team to look at the question of, there’s really three players: Adidas, Under Armour and Nike.”
Michigan parted ways with Nike in 2007 and became the top college brand outfitted by Adidas, which also netted a significantly richer contract (expiring at the end of July 2016). Nobody disputes the benefits of a richer contract, but the look has done enough damage to create a divide in the fanbase. Flashy uniforms are supposed to be a nice recruiting tool (see Oregon), but criticisms of Michigan’s alternate looks have been common. Adidas does not have a great track record when it comes to mixing things up stylistically.
Hackett noted new head coach Jim Harbaugh will have a strong influence on the uniforms Michigan wears this season. Among the uniform notes Harbaugh has already put in play is having the team wear all black shoes. A previous report said Harbaugh will also be bringing back helmet stickers on the Michigan helmet, a uniform feature used under Bo Schembechler when Harbaugh was a quarterback for the Wolverines. Michigan is also dropping the legends patches on select uniforms as well.
The uniform review process is already underway, because Michigan will have to make a decision by the end of the year if it is going to make a change. That allows whichever apparel company to have time to design uniforms for various sports and have them approved by the university for use.
Which company do you think Michigan should sign up with for the future? Should Michigan stick with Adidas? Return to Nike? Give Under Armour a chance? Feel free to offer your suggestions in the comments below.