This morning, Greg DeVries of the Baylor Lariat put forward an interesting two part proposition. First, permanently make the Men's Basketball team's uniforms the Addias Electricity series. Second - possibly paint the Ferrell Center to match, including installing black seats and sidelines.
There is no doubt that the Bears love Electricity. The current team introductory video plays off the electricity colors, and a few of the players wear shoes in the bright yellow-green, even with the gold or white uniforms, suggesting the uniforms will make a reappearance this season.
Now, I like the Electricity uniforms. They're exciting, they're innovative, and they apparently give an actual competitive advantage. The Bears should use those uniforms, but I worry that they'll lose their impact if the Bears switch to them full time.Instead, save them for big games-games against top 15 opponents, games on national TV, games in tournaments. DeVries cites Oregon as an example of uniforms impacting recruiting, but how will abandoning Baylor's traditional colors permanently help more than head coach Scott Drew's already effective strategy? Baylor has one of the top freshmen of the year in Isaiah Austin, plus an extremely talented 2013 commit class drawn by the promise of a program looking to become elite.
However, the real question is how much Electricity is too much? DeVries suggests that the currently green Paul J. Meyer Arena seats be repainted black, in order to offer more contrast with the electricity color. Another renovation he has in mind is the redesign of the court floor to include black and neon (or even glow-in-the-dark) green, and to seemingly center the Ferrell Center around the men's team.
It’s important to remember that the Ferrell Center is not a single-purpose facility. The current National Champion Lady Bears also call the Meyer Arena their home, and their colors do not include the Adidas Electricity. In fact, the women's team cannot include that color because the Lady Bears are outfitted by Nike, and wear dark green, white, and potentially Nike's specialty "Platinum." Even if Nike were to add a similar color, it wouldn't be an exact match, and would mean the re-outfitting of the entire team.
The volleyball team also plays their games on that court, and wears the traditional green, gold, and white. To change the Ferrell Center would be to alienate these two teams, including the, need I say it again, current national champions. It would make it look like they were playing an "away" game, even at home, and that kind of advantage, while helping the men's team, might hurt Baylor's other teams.
Economically, these changes would make little or no sense. How much revenue does Baylor make from electricity colors? Not enough to offset the new uniforms for the cheerleaders and spirit squads, for if the arena is black and electric, then surely their traditional white, green, gold, or yellow uniforms would stick out like a sore thumb. They would need new, men's game only uniforms.
Repainting these seats sounds cool, but if they're filled, it doesn't matter what color they are. Instead of spending money on physical changes, why not concentrate on attempting to put bodies in the building? If the fans wear electricity, then it doesn't matter if the seats themselves are green. If there are no fans, the seats being black won't matter, because they'll still be empty. Baylor has had a perennial problem with getting students into the arena. While Baylor basketball may be on a level with teams such as Missouri and Kansas, the student section pales in comparison to even unranked teams.
Ultimately, DeVries' message is that "electricity can be Baylor's 'thing'." In response I ask " Does Baylor need a "thing?" We have some real things to be proud of - a National Championship; a NCAA Womens player of the year; an extremely exciting men's team who some are picking to knock Kansas off the Big 12 crown; a freshman who might be one of the most talented big men to ever play for Baylor. Does Baylor need a gimmick to be noticed, especially when the quality of product has been steadily rising? Would such a gimmick cheapen these accomplishments? Kentucky wears blue and white year after year, and they fill their arena almost every game.
Baylor Men's Basketball's new colors might be exciting and eye-catching, but they are also simply new. If the proposed changes were to occur, there would be a movement within four years to go back to the traditional Baylor gear. Baylor's colors have been green and gold for over a hundred years for good reason. They're classy, unique, and identifiable. The "new toy" of Electricity may be fun now, but it will be displaced by the next "big" thing-perhaps even the collegiate version of the "Big Color" uniforms that will be worn by NBA teams this Christmas.
By all means, wear Electricity. Just don't forget the green and gold.