It's probably because I'm a woman.
Or maybe it's because I covered Villanova's Jay Wright for seven years, the only man I've ever met who can carry a murse and not look entirely ridiculous.
Whatever. But if I ruled college basketball, I would institute fashion rules. Not a dress code, per se, but more a list of don'ts that would shame folks into submission. Or if that didn't work, a wanted poster that would go out to every Division I school with names and pictures of offenders. Think a snapshot of Bob Huggins in his tracksuit hanging in your athletic department offices.
(And yes, I realize that the profession in which I work is not exactly known for its sartorial splendor and probably could use its own tips. However, I like to believe that Shannon Ryan of the Chicago Tribune, Nicole Auerbach of USA Today Sports and I are changing the culture one educated, reformed, formerly frumpy male reporter at a time.)
So the Rules of Hoops Fashion:
1. NO MORE MOCK TURTLENECKS
Yes, Mike Brey and Bob Huggins, I'm looking at you. Sonny Crockett with his white blazer and blue T-shirt/mock turtleneck were the height of fashion ... in the 1980s, when "Miami Vice" was the height of good television. We have all evolved since then and realize that a shirt that can't decide if it wants to be a tee or a turtle really has no place in our world. The only thing right about mock turtlenecks is the name -- they are meant to be mocked.
2. STOP REEBOK NOW
I went to the Reebok Classic Breakout at Philadelphia University last week. This is what I saw -- jerseys with olive green tops and maroon polka-dotted bottoms; pink camouflage unis and pale green ones with subtle palm-tree motifs in the background. Even my 10-year-old son, who on that day wore a gray shirt, bright blue and pink lacrosse shorts, blacks socks and black sneakers, was appalled. Reebok reps assured me that these uniforms would never, ever appear on a college basketball court. But lest some designer with a mad bolt of fabric gets a bright idea and offers Missouri a look that incorporates subtle Asian jungle foliage so the Tigers feel more at home, let's just nip this in the bud ahead of time.
3. INFRARED, DAY-GLO ORANGE, BURN-YOUR-EYES-OFF YELLOW, ANYTHING RESEMBLING CHARTREUSE, AND REALLY ANY UNIFORMS THAT ARE A) NOT YOUR SCHOOL'S COLORS AND B) NOT IN A 32-PACK CRAYON BOX ARE NOT ALLOWED
I also saw Rick Pitino at the Breakout. He said he and his team wanted to pull Louisville's infrared adidas uniforms out for this past NCAA tournament. Athletic director Tom Jurich overruled him. I always thought Jurich was a smart man. If your team colors are blue and white, wear blue and white. If your team colors are brown and white, well, tough luck, Lehigh, you've got to look like UPS drivers. Suck it up and blame your university's forefathers.
4. NO CATCHY LOGOS ON THE FRONT OF JERSEYS
The NCAA already put the nix on this one, when Baylor tried to use Sic 'Em instead of Bears or Baylor before last year's tourney. We will just make this a hard rule to prohibit future attempts like Hook 'Em, Rock Chalk, Woo Pig Sooie or Flim Flam, Bim Bam, Ole Miss by Damn.
5. NO SLEEVED JERSEYS
They're just silly.
6. NO ARM SLEEVES SANS AN ARM INJURY
Henceforth any athlete who attempts to enter a game with an arm sleeve who does not have an X-ray, MRI, doctor's note or note from their mother saying it is medically necessary will be subjected to wearing Bill Walton's old UCLA shorts for the entire season. In fact, let's just make this an NCAA rule.
7. NO FULL-LENGTH TIGHTS
Go ahead. Ask an 18- to 22-year-old man who is not with the New York City Ballet to wear a pair of tights in public on a normal day and see how it goes. Yet somehow when paired with a gigantic pair of baggy shorts, tights are suddenly OK, if not downright cool. Compression tights, they are called. Let's just be honest: They're spandex. Add a pair of leg warmers and you've got a Jane Fonda workout tape. If a player wants to wear them -- again, without medical evidence that they are necessary (and unless the player just had open-heart surgery, not sure how they'd be necessary) -- may we suggest offering instead a pair of L'eggs control tops in nude?
8. NO NIKE ELITE SOCKS
OK, I have nothing against these socks aesthetically, except that they cost $16 a pair and my kid loves them and no sock should be $16 ... unless it can actually make my 10-year-old play like Kevin Durant.