FSU puts rush order on fixing uniforms, helmets
Jameis Winston won't be the only Seminole calling an audible this football season.
Less than one week after Florida State's new football uniforms debuted with a thud in the Seminoles' season opener at Dallas, the university's athletics department announced on Friday that it was taking the redesign back to the drawing board.
"Saturday night at AT&T Stadium was the first opportunity we had to see the color of our helmets and facemasks under stadium and broadcast television lights," FSU stated in a press release. "The shades of both the Garnet facemasks and the Gold of our football helmets did not accurately represent those of our tradition-rich past."
Even before the opener, FSU officials knew they had problems with the road uniforms. In particular, there were concerns that fans wouldn't be able to read the players' jersey numbers because of the combination of gold numbers on white jerseys. So with the cooperation of Nike, the Seminoles planned to have new uniforms in place for the bowl game.
But the uproar from fans and boosters apparently was larger and stronger than the university anticipated, and the outrage encompassed more than just the jersey numbers.
A poll last week on Warchant.com garnered more than 5,000 votes, with more than 4,000 voicing criticism of the new uniforms. Those poll results were touted on social media by a number of former FSU players and other supporters.
The university also was flooded with emails and phone calls from frustrated fans. Russ Vorhis, an insurance agent from the Jacksonville area who described himself as a 20-year season-ticket holder and a Golden Chief, called the uniform changes "shameful" in an email sent to athletics director Stan Wilcox and other FSU stakeholders.
"The changes that have been made by Nike and our Athletic Department are shameful and should be corrected or better yet reversed with urgency," Vorhis wrote. "Our colors are Garnet and Gold!!! Not Magenta and Mustard."
Those sentiments were shared by many, and FSU already has begun the process of starting over.
Senior associate athletic director Monk Bonasorte confirmed to Warchant.com on Saturday that the gold helmets will be painted darker before the Seminoles take the field on Sept. 20 against Clemson. The facemasks also are expected to be returned to the proper shade of garnet.
"We made a commitment to get everything sent off on Monday, since we have an open week and we'll make the adjustments we need to make," Bonasorte said before FSU's game against The Citadel.
Low blocks leave FSU players, Fisher upsetClick According to another athletic department official who declined to speak on the record, the uniform problems extended beyond the colors. Due to a manufacturer's defect, the facemask paint chipped badly during the season opener. And the spear decals didn't match properly with holes drilled into the helmets, which led to some peeling.Here to view this Link.
While the helmets will be a relatively quick fix, the white jerseys will take a little longer. FSU and Nike had planned to change the numbers in time for the postseason before the season began, but they decided to expedite the change after the Oklahoma State game.
They're expected to be ready sometime midseason, though there's no firm timetable for their arrival. FSU has four more road games remaining, with the next one coming Sept. 27 at N.C. State.
The new design of the spear on the helmet will remain, Bonasorte said. The garnet jerseys, which debuted on Saturday against The Citadel, also will stay the same.