Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon announced this week that the Wolverines, fresh off a season that saw multiple alternate uniforms and a major change to their iconic winged helmets, would be introducing new alternate uniforms in 2012—if not as many.
To Brandon, the move is a no-brainer:
"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 on 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?”
Brandon is correct to note the support for these alternate uniforms, and he doesn't even note the increase in apparel sales that undoubtedly came from the increase in jersey options. From all of those standpoints, it makes a ton of sense.
Interestingly, though, this seems like the type of assault on tradition that the more staid Wolverine fans feared would accompany Rich Rodriguez's arrival in Ann Arbor. After all, he was not the proverbial "Michigan man."
And yet it's Brady Hoke, a dyed-in-the-wool Michigan man himself, who has been at the helm of the program as the uniforms have been updated—to very little protest, at that.
The difference, of course, is that Hoke is 11-2 as a Michigan head coach with a strong chance to hit double digit wins again in 2012. As long as Michigan keeps winning, things like uniform tweaks, numbers on helmets and anything else involved with the football program that doesn't resemble what it did in 1972 is fine.
Michigan fans may cherish tradition, but they're not dumb enough to be okay with six wins a year as long as the uniforms are as familiar as possible.