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Monday, April 26, 2010
New Spartans uniforms rile fans

By Eamonn Brennan

As an avid college basketball shorts enthusiast -- seriously, college basketball shorts are the best -- I couldn't help but notice Michigan State's new threads at a Nike store a few weeks ago. They looked different, even by the standards of updated college uniforms. The green of the shorts was darker, and there was a vented design down the side that didn't resemble the look of the uniforms Tom Izzo's team was wearing in their unlikely run to the Final Four. I was intrigued and confused. Were these just random Michigan State shorts? Or the start of something different?

(And yes, if you're wondering, I spend this much time thinking about the implications of college basketball shorts design. I can't help it.)

Turns out, it wasn't random; Michigan State does have new uniforms on the way, which you can see here, modeled by none other than Kalin Lucas and Durrell Summers, who appear to be having a real ball at the photo shoot. The green is darker, the shorts have that vented thing going on, the jerseys say "Spartans" instead of "State," and if the reaction at The Only Colors is any indication -- TOC calls them "awful, awful, awful" -- very few Michigan State fans are on board.

For what it's worth, the changes aren't random. Michigan State is making a concerted effort to make all of their uniforms consistent in coloring and lettering, according to a release from the school:

"We have been an athletics program of different greens, logos, word-marks and uniform quality," Hollis said. "There has been a lack of consistency with regard to our brand. This inconsistency was a result both of using multiple suppliers for our apparel and of uniform decisions being made without a department-wide focus."

The biggest change for hoops fans is without question the change from "State" to "Spartans." It's a little thing, but it's the kind of little thing fans typically don't appreciate. Why tinker with a classic detail?

Either way, even detractors of the new uniforms will have to admit one thing: Those shorts are pretty sweet.