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Posted on Thu, May 17, 2012 : 5:59 a.m.

More alternate uniforms on horizon for Michigan football team, AD says

By Kyle Meinke


The "legacy" uniforms that the Michigan football team unveiled for its game against Notre Dame last season led to the creation of two similar road versions, worn at Michigan State and the Sugar Bowl. More alternate looks could be coming, athletic director Dave Brandon said.

Melanie Maxwell |

CHICAGO -- More alternate jerseys could be on the way for the Michigan football team.

Athletic director Dave Brandon said he continues to support varying the team's look, and hopes to add more wrinkles in coming years.

"For football last year, we probably did a little bit more than we’ll do going forward in terms of variety, but we’re going to from time to time do some special things," he said Wednesday after the third and final day of the Big Ten spring meetings.

"The coaches like it and the student-athletes like it and the recruits are enamored by it. So why wouldn’t we?”


Jordan Kovacs shows off the alternate road uniform that Michigan wore at Michigan State last season.

Melanie Maxwell |

Michigan wore nontraditional uniforms three times last year, including the "legacy" jersey against Notre Dame. The look included numbers on the helmets, a feature that later was added to the regular uniform.

The helmet numbers also were adorned during the spring game this year, and have appeared on materials sent to recruits.

The Wolverines also sported alternate uniforms against Michigan State -- changing into the new digs after wearing their regular attire for warmups. The jersey, which Michigan billed as a road version of the legacy look, was not as popular as its predecessor.

Michigan closed the season in the Sugar Bowl by sporting a toned-down version of the jersey worn against Michigan State, and it was better received.

B1G SPRING MEETING sports reporter Kyle Meinke traveled to Chicago to cover the Big Ten Conference’s spring meeting. His previous reports:

Michigan players, Dave Brandon back 4-team playoff that includes bowl system

Michigan to spend $250 million to upgrade facilities for non-revenue sports

As Big Ten’s playoff model takes shape, conversation shifts from ‘what’ to ‘how’

Jim Delany favors raising bowl threshold to 7 wins, reworking ticket distribution

Athletic directors favor 4-team football playoff that includes bowls; selection committee popular

Michigan-Michigan State after dark? No trepidation from MSU AD Mark Hollis

Brandon said there won't be any pregame surprises next year. Instead, Michigan is finalizing its uniform plan for the season this summer, and will release it to the public "so that we end (these) rumors, and some of the Twitter fodder, on what’s going to happen and what’s not going to happen.

"I think what we’re going to do is lay it out and say, game by game, 'Here’s what we’re going to do. If we’re going to make any changes, here’s what they are,' and it will kind of end all the speculation. We’re in the midst of all of that.”

Football isn't the only team that's getting the makeover treatment. Michigan recently announced the hockey team will have five jerseys for next season.

Adding alternate jerseys breaks from tradition at a school known for it, but Brandon said his coaches are on board.

"I rely a lot on the coaches to make those decisions," Brandon said. "Frankly, the coaches would tell you a lot of this has to do with recruiting, too. Recruits today, they like variety. They emulate these programs that from time to time wield out these special jerseys.

"I really defer to the coaches, and all I ask is that Adidas, as our partner, does a great job of coming up with concepts that the kids like, that the coaches like, and I don’t want to get too carried away."

Kyle Meinke covers Michigan football for He can be reached at 734-623-2588, by email at and followed on Twitter @kmeinke.


DeeJay Jayron

Fri, May 18, 2012 : 8:34 p.m.

There's a bunch of old farts on here who just don't get what building a program is. Just as one put it, "the football players play the game, not the uniforms" this is what the players want. Our uniforms have gone thru drastic changes over the years, not just when Dave Brandon came on board as AD. I hate Oregon's uniforms, I live in Oregon. It's over done. Last year's Legacy Jersey's were all awesome. You complain about tradition dying but the Legacy Jerseys element of the past, but I learned a lot more about Michigan's past teams because I was interested in where theses elements came from. IT BUILDS AWARENESS. The University of Michigan is known for it key jingling sitting at game fan's aka The Quietest 111,001 Fan's. You need to stop suppressing youthful endeavors and stop being the old Showgirl out to break the replacements leg. BE REAL FANS. Stop hating on every decision. Oregon is overrated but noticed by voters because of the "HYPE" surrounding it uniforms, its raucous home atmosphere, and the freaking duck! THIS IS MICHIGAN. That means we have a brand and if we want our brand to go toe to toe with the other top brands we have to keep with the times. X-Box vs Playstation, Apple vs Android, Marvel vs DC. Dave Brandon is a GENIUS and you're too stupid to shut up. BE A REAL FAN. THIS IS MICHIGAN FOR GOD'S SAKE. We can't be leaders and best if we stay in the 80's. Unless Doc really did turn the Delorean into a time machine. #GOBLUE <---- See what I did there?


Sat, May 19, 2012 : 6:21 p.m.

Well said!


Fri, May 18, 2012 : 9:21 p.m.

That's one way to look at it.


Fri, May 18, 2012 : 8:23 p.m.

The main issue here is not uniform changes but the increasing use of "yellow" instead of our traditional "maize" in michigan athletics. The lettering on the U of M BB court is the 1st maize I have seen in quite a while. Time for a "Maize IN" ?!


Fri, May 18, 2012 : 3:56 p.m.

So many comments about the recruiting part of this being a bunch of bull, yet the coaches are driving these "changes" because they think it helps recruiting. And all this time, I thought the coaches knew more than the fans!


Fri, May 18, 2012 : 3:47 p.m.

The horror... the horror...


Fri, May 18, 2012 : 3:25 p.m.

Come on, Brandon. LEAVE OUR UNIFORMS ALONE! "This is Michigan, for God's sake!"


Fri, May 18, 2012 : 6:15 a.m.

No. Winged helmet Blue jersey Maize pants and numbers Thats Michigan. That's all i want. When you have one of the most recognizable uniforms is all of sports, why would you change it?

Steve McQueen

Fri, May 18, 2012 : 5:08 a.m.

Brandon is doing an excellent job bringing Michigan athletics and football in to the 21st century. Under his leadership, Michigan has cut loose an overpaid (cost Michigan 20 Million+ for 13 BCS wins in 3 years ha) coach and made an excellent hire of a progressive minded, yet traditionally based HC in Brady Hoke. Hoke is as a great leader should be, a heck of a recruiter both for his staff but also in the players he is restocking the program with. Michigan football opens vs. Bama and is on the rise clearly... Brandon, (with his decisions and hiring in coach Hoke) is bringing Michigan football in to the forefront of college football the very TOP. I find it very humorous that some of you... YOU know who you are... complained all about how Traditional Lloyd Carr went 9-3 every year for the most part... and how Michigan needed a change to the Spread Offense..blah blah blah ... are some of the same ones that complain now about something as trivial as fun uniform adaptations... If you would take an unbiased look at it, you will see that some really innovative ideas to enhance the Michigan football brand are being set in motion.


Fri, May 18, 2012 : 12:21 p.m.

Isn't this a great country to be able to voice your opinion right or wrong and wear different uniforms that can either look good or bad, I love it.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 10:59 p.m.

The last time I checked, it was the players that went out and won or lost the games! Not the uniforms! I love the classic Michigan look but changing it up a couple times a season can only enhance the brand. Especially for the younger generations. Go Blue!! T.I.M


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 9:05 p.m.

I heard that DB is going to authorize putting a one foot stinger on the players butts for one game each year and call us the Michigan Bumblebee's. Really !


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 9:28 p.m.

Why you are Terry.

Terry Star21

Thu, May 17, 2012 : 9:14 p.m.

"us' - who exactly is your team....just curious ?


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 6:15 p.m.

Ludicrous. Worse than the iPhone treadmill. How many jerseys do you need? I purchased a home jersey when I was enrolled at Michigan 15 years ago. I bought an away jersey when the official new ones came out a few (5? 6?) years ago. Those are the only two I will own. PS These striped deals look UGLY.

Terry Star21

Thu, May 17, 2012 : 5:49 p.m.

Doesn't matter what Michigan wears out on the field, it's still the Nations best football team and always will be. At least we don't have some little sissy in a plaid dress or some crazy colored peanut head leading us out onto the field. As far as attracting recruits; is it a coincidence that right after Michigan experimented with the uniforms - we attracted the #1 recruiting class (2013) ? MgoBlueForTiM.....we're the threat....


Fri, May 18, 2012 : 3:45 p.m.

Well, in that case I vote they wear pink and lavender with lace frills then.

Patrick Green

Fri, May 18, 2012 : 2:04 p.m.

Appalachian State? Wow we loved the "Nations" best football team that day !!!!


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 4:41 p.m.

How about some information on how much money they pull in by selling 'unique' jerseys ? Or are we not reporting and just taking Dave Brandon at his word that this is all for coaches and players ?

Billy Bob Schwartz

Thu, May 17, 2012 : 5:30 p.m.

Check out the #16 jersey from the Notre Dame game. Sales before Christmas were backed up way past the new year (at least through the beginning of March). Somevody's making a ton of money on it.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 4:32 p.m.

I liked all of the uniforms. Including the white MSU game jerseys. I remember seeing practice pictures of Cam Gordon (I think) and thinking "Hmm... white pants... interesting". People use tradition as an excuse to stay the same. Nothing wrong with a temporary change. Also, a recruit is not likely to choose Michigan b/c of jerseys but a jersey could pique recruit's interest. Face it, kids today like new, flashy things. Why not show UofM can maintain its tradition while also showing an updated style occasionally?


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 4:33 p.m.

I love that picture of Kovacs, arms spread, "Victors Valiant". Too bad the memory of losing comes with those jerseys.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 3:26 p.m.

Make it stop! Dave Brandon is just a gimmick machine.

Brian Bundesen

Thu, May 17, 2012 : 2:59 p.m.

The only people who like change are wet babies. Can you imagine the volume of emails and voice mails the AD receives anytime UM tries to change anything? They know what they're doing, and are sensitive to tradition while maximizing marketing opportunities. They would'nt do it if these didn't sell--Big time. Cha-Ching & Go Blue!


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 2:30 p.m.

UGH! Stripey-stripes, ick! Those aren't even Michigan helmet stripes, those are Adidas shoe stripes. So whose tradition is the team really advertising? Stay with our classic uniform. The coaches and team should be concentrating on playing football, not dressing flashy.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 2:19 p.m.

This month's special, any create-your-own, two-topping medium for just $11.99. Didn't he used to say he was big on pushing the "Michigan brand"? For those of us old enough to remember the old chewing gum commercial - "Yipes! Stripes! Michigan's got 'em!"


Fri, May 18, 2012 : 1:35 a.m.

Haven't seen one of those commercials in a long time! I agree with your post.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 1:40 p.m.

This is so unbelievably amazing, Michigan can find all kinds of money to buy new uniforms, but it can't afford to send its band members to Texas for the Alabama vs Michigan football showdown. What an insane crazy bunch of top executives we've got.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 2:51 p.m.

The athletic department does not pay for their uniforms. They have a contract with Adidas, and under that contract all uniforms are provided for all sports, plus Adidas pays a significant rights fee for the ability to provide these uniforms. Adidas will happily provide as many uniform combinations as requested. You can be for or against the alternate jerseys, but cost is not a factor.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 1:47 p.m.

What? The gimmick uniforms will pay for themselves 1000 times over. That's why they're done. The band will not really pay for themselves to go to Texas. If you want to make this sort of argument, the gimmick uniforms can pay for other luxuries within the Athletic Department (for argument's sake, I know the AD is using other funds to pay for the band's trip). I dont like the watering down of our uniform tradition that we are seeing, but this is not the argument to make.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 1:16 p.m.

The bull about it being for recruits is outrageous. How many alternate uniforms does Texas use? How about USC? Ohio State? Even Florida or any of the SEC schools? Hardly ever! And those schools attract the top recruits in the country year in and year out. Michigan has the most unique helmets and best uniforms in the country so quit messing with it already! Recruits go to USC, OSU, Texas and Florida to win national championships. You don't see recruits lining up in droves to attend Alabama or LSU because of the uniforms, no, they want to win and get the best coaching in the country. So quit trying to sell recruits on being able to wear different or trendy uniforms and instead get them here with the promise of winning one of those crystal footballs.

Scott Laux

Thu, May 17, 2012 : 1:11 p.m.

Next Dave Brandon uniform. Michigan's twitter account on front and back.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 12:39 p.m.

Michigan needs ugly gimmick uniforms? For what? Michigan should be a leader not a follower. Great job Brandon mess up the best uniform in college sports


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 12:37 p.m.

Why tinker with uniforms which are uniformly considered among the best? Sell the novelties as you wish, but keep the traditional Michigan uniform on the field.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 12:17 p.m.

Those uniforms for the MSU game were embarrassing. Not only did we quietly copy what State did first and did publicly, but we did it second-rate. It was an embarrassing showing, and if I were out on that field in that uniform, I would not only feel embarrassed, I would also feel inferior. Do this once a year. Make it an event. Any more and you water down our great, traditional uniforms. see this article in the WSJ:


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 1:26 p.m.

I had forgotten about the whole switcheroo thing. Yes - warm up in one uniform, then change to another entire uniform right before the game. Not quite the source of stability and comfort a team needs in a very hostile environment. We will have to agree to disagree, however, about State's uniforms. I thought they were bad, but not as bad as ours. We just looked dumb running around the field dressed as bumblebees.

Blue Marker

Thu, May 17, 2012 : 1:03 p.m.

Well, MSU's uniforms were just as bad! What I thought was embarrassing was coming out in our standard uniform and then going in to change.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 12:02 p.m.

This is all about the money. Each new jerseys design causes a spike in merchandise sales. I'm sure there are other benefits, but there is only one thing driving the decisions: $$$$.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 11:46 a.m.

if you hire a huckster, you get--------huckster-ism. it's just like selling pizza. the man can't exist unless his name is in the paper at least 2 or 3 times a week.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 11:46 a.m.

This is all about money. Selling more jerseys to the rubes who will buy whatever UM football tells them to buy. This is the same as the Rose Bowl is about money noreso than tradition. If there is one thing Brandon understands its money.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 11:25 a.m.

Too much...too much...too much. Tweak the numbers on the jerseys, OK. This announcement is no surprise. The notion that recruits like variety is pure bull. They come to Michigan to play for the Maize and Blue and to become champions on and off the field and not to look flashy. I have to LOL on the last sentence from the Dave Brandon quote..."and I don't want to get carried away." Mr Brandon IS getting not only carried away but is swept away.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 11:01 a.m.

If Michigan needs gimmicks like "Alternative' uniforms for kids to come here, then they, being Michigan, must have some serious problems.

Terry Star21

Thu, May 17, 2012 : 5:36 p.m.

Fail. Nice try though, you're funny....


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 10:58 a.m.

I sound very picky, but keep the all black shoes......the half black and white they wore last year looked bad and did not match the maize and, they are part of the tradition......

Rob Pollard

Thu, May 17, 2012 : 10:41 a.m.

DB is a weird guy. Fights for "tradition" by wanting to keep the Rose Bowl (instead of fighting for home-based playoff games, which (shudder) might be in cold weather and actually benefit his fan base), yet continually wants to mess with the tradition of one of the greatest uniforms in sports. And seriously - can he name one recruit who wouldn't have come here if we didn't have revolving & revolting uniforms? Not just that they "liked" it, but that it was a decision-factor, you know, "I kind of wanted to play for Coach Hoke, be a part of the Michigan tradition and get a great education at s top school, but the big reason I chose UM is b/c of the white on white pants.". If not, he should zip it That picture of that uniform abomination from the MSU game last year hurts my eyes just to look at it. I had hoped to never see it again, but looks like I can look forward to us being Oregon East (though perhaps our helmets won't be quite a shiny).

Blue Marker

Thu, May 17, 2012 : 11:20 a.m.

I think you're being kind. Although I don't disagree with everything DB has done he does seem to have a bit of "used car" salesmen in him. If it's not 5 different uniforms in a 12 game season it's a Jet-Pack guy flying in to deliver the game ball. Does Michigan really need this? Get the numbers off the helmets and go back to just two uniforms....home and road. Done.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 11:18 a.m.

I agree, try watching Oregon and Maryland play an entire game with some of their uniform combinations....impossible.....or the Boise St. blue field......


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 10:17 a.m.

And for the record....I'm against the revolving uniforms. That is for teams that have no tradition like Oregon or Maryland. This is Michiganfergodsakes! Act like it.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 12:11 p.m.

You RichRod comment was inane, but this comment is spot on. Modify the uniforms once in a blue moon, such as for an event like UTL, but not several games a year. Hell, not even once a year. Just for special, special events.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 11:27 a.m.

I totally agree but unfortunately, our thoughts and comments mean nothing to the Athletic Department.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 11:22 a.m.

The "Bumble Bee" uniforms for the MSU game were terrible......I respect only one thing about Penn. State and that is they kept their traditional uniforms.....


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 10:16 a.m.

Just imagine the uproar of good ol' RichRod had suggested changing the uniforms.....


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 3:12 p.m.

Yes that is true.