Faux Throwbacks Cheapen Michigan, Notre Dame

On Sept. 10, Michigan and Notre Dame will play the first-ever night game at Michigan Stadium.

Michigan Notre Dame Throwback Uniforms

I’m pleased to report that in keeping with that historic break from tradition, adidas will outfit its two highest profile college football clients in throwback uniforms of somewhat dubious distinction.

Unfortunately for the uniphiles at adidas charged with boosting the bottom lines of their clients, ND’s most glorious seasons coincided with decidedly drab on-field apparel, while the actual Michigan Menswear of past Wolverine teams apparently wasn’t enough of a hard sell either.

Last month Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly leaked details of the antique uniques to be worn by ND and UM to Brian Hamilton of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE:

Irish coach Brian Kelly spilled the beans Friday that the programs will wear throwback uniforms for their Sept. 10 matchup.

Kelly wouldn’t get specific about the design of the Notre Dame outfits beyond saying they hearken back to the Joe Kuharich Era — perhaps an odd choice, given that Kuharich was 17-23 in four years as Irish coach from 1959-62.

“I’m just trying to help you guys piece together what it’s going to look like, without me saying and then getting yelled at by our adidas people that we blew the surprise for them.

“But yeah, we’re going to have throwback uniforms. As they will. I can tell you what theirs look like: They have a block ‘M’ on them, and a number, and a number on their helmet. How’s that? The adidas people at Michigan are going to be (ticked) at me.”

So instead of celebrating one of Notre Dame’s most famous teams or eras, the school will instead remind us of perhaps the most forgettable collection of Fighting Irish squads in history.

Notre Dame Shamrock Throwback Helmets


Not to mention that the Fighting Irish helmet logo featured at that time, as noted by Matt Hinton of Yahoo Sports, was a shamrock more resembling the international symbol for radiation than anything associated with a football institution fallen on hard times. (Or as Hinton called it, a “nuclear shamrock.”)

Notre Dame Shamrock Throwback Helmets

(Little known factoid: Perry Como once coached ND Special Teams)

Then there’s Michigan, which will will break out a set of ancient on-field apparel that Ann Arbor annals reveal never fully existed.

Yesterday the DETROIT FREE PRESS reported:

Michigan’s jersey, according to a sample provided to the Free Press, will be modeled after the image shown above. A small number also will be added to the upper-left corner of the jersey front, opposite the Adidas logo.

Michigan 1899 Uniforms Throwback Uniforms Notre Dame Game

Last week, athletic director Dave Brandon told a meeting of the state’s sports editors that U-M intended to hold a nighttime unveiling of the jersey this summer and that U-M hoped fans would purchase a lot of jerseys, as they did for the Big Chill last winter.

Asked about the night-game jersey Thursday, associate athletic director Dave Ablauf responded: “We are still tweaking and making final decisions on the look of the uniform. We won’t be commenting on the throwback uniform design until we have the product in hand.”

MVictors.com is a remarkable archive of all things Michigan, so after seeing the Free Press report, the UM-centric site was my next stop.

The reaction from Greg at MVictors today was, in a word, pained.

I’m sure there are certain constraints the athletic department and adidas are dealing with (material, size, and marketing – they want to sell a bunch of these, afterall). The question mark for me concerns those stripes on the sleeves. I don’t recall stripes having a prominent presence on the gridiron, really, at any point in history.

Again – nothing is official so please only panic quietly to yourself until we see the final designs.

Greg pointed out that, from the UM-released image, the jersey does not fully resemble any past Michigan football ensemble.

Though it was noted that similarities are seen in 1899 UM squad:

Michigan 1899 Uniforms Throwback Uniforms Notre Dame Game

And the Fielding Yost-coached teams of the early 1920s:

Michigan 1920s Fielding Yost Uniforms Throwback Uniforms Notre Dame Game

Per Kelly, apparently UM’s venerable winged helmet design, instituted in 1938, will include player numbers affixed to the sides as was custom in Ann Arbor from 1959 to 1968.

Ron Johnson Michigan Winged Helmet With Numbers On Side


Of course, the argument for such historical incongruity is in making the jersey as palatable to the money-spending public, players and recruits as possible. An early return on that front comes from current Michigan player Troy Woolfolk, who had this reaction on Twitter after a fan Tweeted an image of the faux throwback to him:

Troy Woolfolk Tweet about Michigan Football Throwbacks

If a Michigan football historian and current player don’t like the look, what exactly is the demographic UM and adidas is targeting?

I’m all for celebrating the past, especially when the schools involved have such rich football histories. But the above in no one way resembles anything other than a naked grab for cash.

These two schools, in my estimation, are better than that.

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WWNDD: School To Follow Own Rules With Floyd?

Yesterday morning the news broke that Michael Floyd, the top returning offensive Notre Dame football player this season, had been arrested for DUI.

Michael Floyd 2nd Offense: Will Notre Dame follow its own rules?

The arrest, from which Notre Dame police cited Floyd for having a blood alcohol level twice over the legal limit, was his second alcohol-related arrest in 14 months. Last January the ND wide receiver was arrested and charged with underage drinking by Minneapolis police.

On Oct. 15, 2008, Brian Hamilton of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE reported of a Notre Dame football player, Will Yeatman, in a similar circumstance:

Yeatman, a junior tight end for the Irish, has been suspended from all football activities for the fall semester after a Sept. 21 arrest at an off-campus party, his father confirmed to the Tribune early Wednesday.

It was Yeatman’s second arrest this year, following a January operating under the influence arrest.

Yeatman entered a plea agreement in February following that first incident.

Prosecutors announced earlier this month that they found Yeatman to be in violation of that agreement, for which he was charged with the misdemeanor of minor consuming.

The ruling by Notre Dame on Yeatman’s case was an easy one, considering the schools specific rules regarding alcohol-related arrests.

Page 111 of the Notre Dame student handbook - as outlined by the school’s Office of Residence Life - states:

All students are required to comply with applicable laws and University regulations regarding the possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages.

a. .. Students may be subject to disciplinary action for underage consumption, possession or transportation of alcoholic beverages, possession of false identification which misrepresents their age or identity, or for providing alcoholic beverages to any person who is underage.

Page 114 of the Notre Dame student handbook states:

The University prohibits the operation of a motor vehicle while intoxicated or impaired. Any person doing so exhibits wanton disregard for the rights and safety of others.

Page 114 of the Notre Dame student handbook also states the penalties for such alcohol-related offenses:

Second offense: If a student is determined to have violated this policy and it is a second offense as described above, the Office of Residence Life and Housing will:

1. Separate the student from the University for at least one academic semester.

On December 2, 2010, the CHICAGO TRIBUNE reported:

(former Notre Dame football coach Charlie) Weis criticized the (Notre Dame) office of residence life, saying it’s too strict about enforcing campus rules on football players. Weis called that office “the biggest problem on campus relative to the football program.”

Clearly Weis hasn’t read the Notre Dame student handbook. The “biggest problem on campus relative to the football program” isn’t the Office of Residence Life, but the actual rules governing Notre Dame student behavior. Read more…

Docs: Notre Dame Edited Declan Sullivan Videos

In the wake of the tragic death of Notre Dame football videographer Declan Sullivan, there’s been much scrutiny of the school’s dubious handling of the affair.

(60 MPH winds a “beautiful day” according to ND football coach)

Responses from Notre Dame personnel to Indiana OSHA investigators about the accident, including from Brian Kelly, were rife with remarks that contradict the conclusions of OSHA’s accident report. But the oft-evasive responses from those on the scene the day Sullivan died pale in comparison to Notre Dame’s overt lack of cooperation with OSHA investigators when it came to turning over the actual ND football practice videos.

From a meticulously detailed report from the CHICAGO TRIBUNE last week:

The university allowed OSHA to view the team’s practice footage, but it did not turn over the tapes because Notre Dame lawyers said it contained “highly proprietary, trade secret information related to the business of college sports,” documents show.

The ridiculous nature of Notre Dame’s denial in response to OSHA’s request for the acquisition of the practice videos is appalling, but not nearly as troubling as what we now know Notre Dame did to the footage investigators were actually allowed to see.

On Dec. 6, 2010, Notre Dame allowed OSHA investigators to view excerpts of practice videos taken by Declan Sullivan and other Notre Dame videographers on Oct. 27, 2010, the day Sullivan died.

From the notes (pdf) of that viewing session, the OSHA investigators documented on multiple occasions that the videos had been doctored - portions of footage was “missing.”

Notre Dame doctored practice video taken by Declan Sullivan

After viewing the edited videos, the investigators wrote the following: Read more…

ND Coach: Cheap Shot Warrants No Punishment

John Walters of AOL Fanhouse and Brian Hamilton of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE followed up with Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly today about the cheap shot delivered by Notre Dame linebacker Kerry Neal on Navy slot back John Howell during the Midshipmen’s 35-17 win over the Irish Saturday.

John Howell

(Video below)

Hamilton Tweeted from Kelly’s press conference:

NotreDame coach Brian Kelly on whether there’s anything about Kerry Neal “stomp” video to deal with: “We don’t believe so.”

Walters, who asked the question of Kelly, sent out a similar Tweet.

Surprising that Kelly said he didn’t think the actions by O’Neal demanded - at the very least - a reprimand. Read more…

UC Made BCS Title Game? Kelly Wanted To Coach!

Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly makes a comment to Tony Krausz of the FORT WAYNE JOURNAL-GAZETTE, via Da Wiz, that might just give us a hint about his true character.

Brian Kelly

(Mirror, Mirror … *crack*)

If the Bearcats were in the championship game, there is one certainty — Notre Dame would have had to wait to name Brian Kelly its football coach if the university wanted him to lead the Irish.

I know I was going to coach in the national championship game. I made that really clear,” Kelly said during a roundtable interview with a small group of reporters Tuesday. “Every job I’ve taken is because I want to play for a championship. When you have the opportunity to play for a national championship, I’m going to be on that sideline.”

Brian Kelly House Egged

Ahhhh, so THAT explains it!

Read more…

Brian Kelly Reports Cincinnati House Was Egged

Notre Dame Football Coach Brian Kelly Tweeted this today from his Cincinnati home:

Brian Kelly House Egged

(Kelly’s Cincy Exit? Far From (Over) Easy)

Kelly returned to Cincinnati this weekend after being introduced as Notre Dame coach last Friday.

Based on the nature of Kelly’s abrupt departure as Univ. of Cincinnati Coach to Notre Dame in the same capacity, I doubt this news surprises anyone. In fact, a Bearcat football player foretold the possibility of a local backlash on the day Kelly announced to the team he was leaving for Notre Dame. Read more…

Heated Over Kelly, Bearcat Hangs Up On Interview

Last night Univ. of Cincinnati receiver Mardy Gilyard accused his former coach Brian Kelly of not being completely truthful with the team in the past about how much interest the coach had in the Notre Dame job.

Mardy Gilyard Criticizes Brian Kelly


You may have seen clips or read additional excerpts of Gilyard’s incendiary comments from outside the UC football banquet hall last night. Last night Gilyard also went on Fox Sports Radio where he eviscerated his former coach, eventually hanging up on the interview. Read more…

Classless Brian Kelly Ripped By Cincinnati Players

Ryan Ernst of the CINCINNATI ENQUIRER reports on what UC quarterback Tony Pike said about the prospect of coach Brian Kelly accepting the Notre Dame coaching job before the Bearcats banquet on Thursday:

Brian Kelly

“He told us from the get-go that we’d be the first people to know whatever he decides,” senior quarterback Tony Pike said Thursday evening before the team banquet. “We’re going to keep him at his word. We’ve trusted him this far and we’re going to believe what he says.”


Turns out the UC players were the absolute last to know, relegated to learning the news via ESPN television reports while their former coach slinked around banquet’s host hotel hallways flanked by security guards. Read more…

Main Media: How Do We Know Kelly’s Pro-Choice?

Haugh today:

The toughest ones have nothing to do with his well-documented background working for Democratic presidential candidate Gary Hart 25 years ago or Kelly’s alleged pro-choice beliefs.

Hayes last Saturday:

Then there’s the latest controversy that’s lighting up the message boards of what might be the most plugged-in fan base in the nation: Cincinnati coach Brian Kelly is said to be pro-choice.

And Keown of ESPN.com today:

Should Kelly’s apparent pro-choice stance remove him from consideration?

“Alleged.” “Said to be.” “Apparent.”

At this moment, those are the only three main media sources reporting about Kelly’s view on abortion. Did anyone actually consider picking up the phone and asking the coach? Or using their handy media credential to query him in person?

Apparently not.

I searched online media archives all day today trying to find one reputable media reference to Kelly’s stance on abortion. I found none. That isn’t to say that the coach isn’t pro-choice, but if his view on such a polarizing subject in our society isn’t immediately clear, why is anyone in the main media speculating on the impact it would have on the Notre Dame football coaching job? Read more…

South Bend Report: ND AD Indeed Wants Stoops

ND beat reporter for the SOUTH BEND TRIBUNE Eric Hansen reports that Bob Stoops is indeed the top choice of Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick for the Irish football coach job.

Bob Stoops Doesn't Deny Interest In Notre Dame

A university source (I know I hate that, but I have to) has Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops at the very top of ND athletic director Jack Swarbrick’s wish list.

Hansen notes the possibilities “He’s Irish. He’s Catholic. He’s Midwestern. … There are rumors that Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione, with whom Stoops has a strong relationship, may be in the mix at Michigan. Breaking in a new AD may not be all that appealing to Stoops. Stoops’ twin boys and daughters love Norman, Okla., and have passed the age when moving is no big deal.

Hansen’s only negative: “Wife Carol is a powerhouse in the cosmetics business for Mary Kay.

Apparently Hansen hasn’t seen the women of South Bend (My father, brother and cousin all went there, I know.)

Recently, the CHICAGO TRIBUNE floated the possibility that Notre Dame is interested in Stoops, and here was the coach’s response:

“There’s nothing to talk about. Notre Dame has a coach and I’ve got a great job and you know, people just make stuff up. I don’t need to comment on that. If there’s some basis to anything I’d gladly comment on it, but just some guy makes something up, I don’t need to comment on that stuff.”

That rhetoric should alarm OU fans. Far from a denial.

Hansen has four other candidates, and Brian Kelly isn’t as prominent on Swarbrick’s list as you might think. Read more…