News From Terre Haute, Indiana

March 19, 2013

RONN MOTT: School Colors

Ronn Mott
Special to the Tribune-Star

---- — The University of Michigan adopted its school colors in 1867. A body of students gathered and decided those colors would be azure blue and maize … blue and the color of ripe, golden corn. So it seemed only natural that Michigan would do what others have done before them, their school athletic teams would wear school colors to identify them.

What a shock a couple of Sundays ago when Indiana took to the floor in their traveling reds (Crimson) and  out trotted the University of Michigan team in some sort of slimy, yellow-green uniforms, right down to their socks and shoes. Certainly not the color of maize you would find wrapped in a green husk on any Michigan farm.  

Now I don’t care, and have no business in saying, what color the University of Michigan wears on the basketball court. It just seems to me that many of these kids coming from various points on the map want to do their own thing because they are at the university now and want to make a mark for themselves. It doesn’t make them better basketball players. (Ugh, slimy, yellow-green.) Not exactly azure blue and maize.

Notre Dame was supposed to have new uniforms, a light shade of green, but they came out looking like two-footed limes bouncing around the basketball court. It didn’t help them win. Now, because of St. Patrick and their nickname, “The Fighting Irish,” I suppose there’s some connection with green and Notre Dame. The school colors are blue and gold, or close to that, and that’s why the football team wears gold helmets and blue jerseys. At least they look like a football team, not some color dreamed up for this year’s fashionistas.

Cincinnati stayed close to their colors, but God only knows what the designs on their pants were. At least they stayed close to black and red, their school colors. The red was a neon-red and the other color was black with designs.

It was suggested to the Indiana University team (I heard this) they adopt new uniforms. You know, get rid of the red and white striped warm-up pants and the look of the Bobby Knight era uniforms. Well, these smart young men who wear IU emblazoned on their jerseys said “No!” Just makes it easier for you to cheer for old IU.

Here’s the rub of the entire thing … no matter what culture you came from, you are joining the culture of a given university or college. You are there to learn, play your favorite sport and, hopefully, respect the traditions of the school. You see, when your uniforms get more press and more time on national TV than your playing does, you have a serious problem.

I don’t care what the boys in your neighborhood think about your school colors. You’re actually there to defend them. It may sound medieval, but that’s what you’re doing … defending your school’s colors on the fields and courts of national sports while the people at the university or college are trying to cram some learning into your heads.

Ronn Mott, a longtime radio personality in Terre Haute, writes commentaries for the Tribune-Star. His pieces are published online Tuesday and Thursday on, and in the print and online editions on Saturday.