It is tough to argue with the rhyme and reason voiced by NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice. The NFL’s all-time leader in touchdowns stated his philosophy, “You look good. You play good. That’s the bottom line. But that’s in any walk of life, really.”
Arizona State University’s athletic department is prepared to follow suit.
On April 9th (Sun Devil Club event) and April 12th (Media and Public release), ASU is prepared to unveil a complete overhaul to the Sun Devils’ brand; including logo modifications, re-tooling the uniforms and continuing upgrades to the facilities, as well as Sun Devil Stadium.
First signs of ASU “change” occurred simultaneously as Dennis Erickson announced his 2011 recruiting class. Maroon marketing cards were displayed with a gold pitchfork and the date: April 12, 2011.
No details. No specifics.
Then, the ASU athletic department took to social media and increased the predictive banter.
Three weeks ago, ASU athletics posted a video on YouTube titled, “It’s Time…To Celebrate Our Past.” With the ceremonies rapidly approaching, more and more videos were posted.
Over the weekend, Sun Devil fans were greeted with ASU’s latest teaser video, “It’s Time. April 12, 2011.”
“Don’t fear change, just the Sun Devils,” was the final narration.
For years, uniform talk, color schemes and logo placement has run ramped on ASU message boards, along with an abundance of colorful language.
Much of the disgust stems from the potential removal of the Sun Devils beloved mascot and athletics logo Sparky. Yet, the athletic department remains firm about Sparky remaining prominent.
Subtle changes over the years came and went in a flash, including stints with all white uniforms, all maroon uniforms and one lone defeat at the hands of the Arizona Wildcats in head to toe gold jerseys.
Still, change affects people in different ways. Some are open to growth and willing to accept change as a positive. Others believe in tradition, keeping with the routine and remaining stagnant.
In the world of college athletics, words like stagnant, stale or dull should never characterize your athletic program.
Arizona State is taking the initiative and forming a progressive movement within the sports world. Although, many might consider a logo change or jersey modification a great business move in a suffering economy, the Sun Devils expect these changes to be far-reaching on multiple platforms.
After all, college football is the kingpin of intercollegiate athletics. With that, the Sun Devils do expect change in 2011, especially on the gridiron.
Just as the conference went through change in 1978 with the addition of ASU and Arizona, the Sun Devils will usher in change alongside the revamped Pac-12, once again.
Now in the inaugural season of the Pac-12 conference, the Sun Devil football team will explode out of the gates with a new look, too.
Whether the colors of emphasis are gold, maroon, black or white or the decal on the helmet has a new, 21st century Sparky, a pitchfork, uniform numbers or the throwback “sunburst” logo, the buzz surrounding ASU athletics will inflate dramatically by opening kickoff on September 1st.
The results thereafter will determine how much progress ASU athletics will make.
If the players look good and feel good in their new threads, the results will come, or so, Mr. Rice says.
With preseason optimism heightened in anticipation of a breakthrough year for football, a new set of uniforms and an entire athletic department overhaul can only help to attract future recruits, while expanding the fanbase.
Seventeen and 18-year-old high school athletes love new gear or “swag.” The infatuation with new uniforms, with black incorporated, is nothing new, but today’s youth salivate over unveiling ceremonies in this fashion.
However, new uniforms alone will not hang championship banners or win football games, and that is what ASU is looking to progress towards. Change is the first step towards that goal.
Although, change does not have a timetable, only a launching point.
By this time next week, the “new look” Arizona State Sun Devils will be fully equipped with fresh Nike uniforms, a new logo, a new plan, and a new image to attract millions of new supporters and family members to the ASU community.
Yet, one has to wonder; if the players like it, will the fans admire the changes, as well?