These new uniforms are the work of Under Armour. In their combinatoric ugliness, they are seemingly modeled on Nike's gear for Oregon, which is to say the uniforms are there to turn a bunch of under-compensated college kids into dress-up dollies modeling whatever hideous new breathable wear the company is rolling out, all while lots of people pretend that a player getting comped at a titty bar is a far graver threat to the sanctity of amateurism than, well, this.
Note the Under Armour banners flanking the stage. College football is so full of cheery grotesqueries that you hardly flinch when another one crosses your path. But this unveiling was something else. The CEO and founder of Under Armour is Kevin Plank, a former Maryland football player. He is the sort of booster who donates $30,000 in charter flights so the school can hire the likes of Randy Edsall. He is a good guy, at least as far as the official morality of college football is concerned, and from now until the moment he gets caught buying Nissans for the defensive secondary, he is free to slap a corporate logo on anything in College Park that will stand still long enough. Plank is a sort of junior-varsity Phil Knight, and Maryland has given itself over to Under Armour in an open imitation of what Oregon has allowed Nike to do—convert a third-tier program in a front-line BCS conference into the official semipro marketing arm of a sports-apparel company.
But that's not what kills me about yesterday's event. Nor is it the fact that Plank is paying large sums of money for the privilege of dressing his favorite amateur athletes like a gang of Happy Meals. It's this. Skip ahead to 9:35 (the video player is the thing in the middle of the page, just below the Lexus logo; press play and wait for the Wendy's ad to end). That's Randy Edsall on stage—the same Randy Edsall who stripped the names off the back of his players' jerseys, declaring, "I am not a name-on-the-back-of-the-jersey guy." These are the first words out of Randy Edsall's mouth: