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Alternate uniforms on the way for IU football

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Oh, no. Oh, no, no, no, no, no.

Courtesy IU Athletics

Indiana has been willing to dabble in the alternate uniform game in recent years, usually to forgettable results. Try as I might, I still haven’t forgotten the time the Hoosiers trotted out in what appeared to be acid wash jeggings. You probably haven’t either.

Soon, it seems we’ll have another entry to the Bad list.

To recognize the 60th anniversary of Memorial Stadium, IU has announced plans to dress its football team in these camouflage “Salute to Service” uniforms at some point in the near future. No date for a rollout was specified in the Indiana release.

First reaction: These look ridiculous.

Second reaction: Do not wear these things.

Third reaction: Upon opening the box in which these were shipped, someone at IU should’ve had the good sense to ship ‘em right back to adidas. Thanks, but no thanks.

OK, OK. I’ll calm down. I’m calm.

I suppose it’s only fair to let IU explain. From the release:

The special uniform design incorporates IU’s traditional markings on gray camouflage pants and jersey tops. In addition, the jersey sleeves include the United States flag and nine “battle” stars. One of the other special features that won’t be as obvious to spectators comes on the IU helmets. Inside the center stripe of each player’s helmet are names of crew members of the WWII battleship USS Indiana BB 58.

That all sounds fine, I guess. But the execution here is just terrible, especially when it could’ve turned into something like this:

Whatever you think about dressing college football teams in camo, the thing is these types of uniforms always seem to fall flat. They simply don’t work. They look terrible. As esteemed uniform critic Paul Lukas notes:

I really hope we can all agree that this uniform looks bad. Like, really bad. Camouflage jerseys just don’t work on a football field, the pants make it even worse, and — here’s the clincher — the red trim looks particularly brutal against the camo background. Woof!

The school’s connection to the Indiana is interesting. The press release explains, for example, that the university “awards an annual $5,000 scholarship to one current or newly admitted student who either currently serves on or has served on the USS Indiana SSN 789, a United States fast attack submarine that was commissioned in 2018 and is the fourth naval vessel to bear the USS Indiana name” — something I didn’t know until now. So in that sense, this uniform (or at least its press release) has been educational, which is a good thing.

But there has to be a better way to honor the ship, its crew, and Veterans Day than by having football players play dress-up soldier in cheesy costumes, especially in a year when many of us are embracing a more expansive concept of heroism. Come on, Hoosiers — you can do better than this.

Hey, if Indiana insists on continuing to get weird with its alternates, we have an idea.