It was leaked in February that, in Kliff Kingsbury‘s new contract as head coach of Texas Tech, there was a clause that stated he would have creative control over the Red Raiders uniform designs.
He recently explained the reasoning behind the clause to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal:
I think in this day and age, with social media and all the things going out there, that the product you put on the field — the way you look, the way you play — is a big deal. So we want to make sure all facets of our game are going strong.
Since this has been a hot topic with teams recently, I understand the allure of trying to attract recruits with fancy duds. In a way, Kingsbury is right – of course recruits are going to take a second look at teams with “cool” uniform options. But if you really think that it’s the deciding factor, you may need to think again.
Let’s use Alabama as an example – Nick Saban could put his team in hot pink jerseys and the players would still come. Recruits don’t sign with a team because they like the uniforms, they sign with a team because of what the school’s name is on the front. Alabama wins games and they are traditionalist when it comes to uniform combinations.
If you notice, the teams that are going out there and getting crazy with their uniform combinations are the teams that want to stand out in a conference that has schools that are recruiting juggernauts.
Tech’s AD Kirby Hocutt also commented on the clause:
It’s important in today’s world and something that we want to be the cutting-edge team in the league and in the state of Texas. It’s something that Kliff has ideas about that I think are exciting and ones that, working with Under Armour, who is the best in the business, we’ll be able to do some creative and exciting things.
We’re in the conceptual stages of discussion as far as what we want to do long term. That being said, we will have two new uniform combinations this season, which is something new. We’ve worked with Under Armour and we’ll have a couple of different uniform combinations to wear this year.
I’ve mentioned before that I’m okay with the subtle uniform changes. And in defense for Tech, the fans and team need the change. They’ve had a rough couple of years with all the coaching changes, so adding excitement back to the program by bringing in Kingsbury is positive.
But when contracts, clauses and official emails contain the word “swag” it may be pushing it overboard. When it comes down to it, a recruit isn’t going to pick you just because you have swag.
The preeminent team in Texas has always been the Texas Longhorns. If Tech is setting the bar to beat the Horns out of recruits because of uniforms – I wish them luck, but I don’t see it happening.
At this point, Kingsbury and Tech need to take all this change and produce it into a Big 12 Championship before the recruits to come flocking to Lubbock. Maybe focus on winning first, then uniforms.
Winning games and championships was once considered swag – what happened to those days?