If you happen to attend a volleyball match or cross-country meet this semester, it would be in your best interest to show up in your most stylish outfit. After all, you’ll be contending with the teams who will be wearing the school’s newest jerseys.
As part of its ongoing rebranding effort, the Emerson athletics department has many of the school’s varsity programs sporting new Nike uniforms. Most recently, the women’s volleyball team and cross country teams have received new jerseys for the fall season. The men’s basketball squad will be sporting their new gear in the winter.
Athletic director Pat Nicol, who has been working to promote varsity sports on campus, is the driving force behind the new uniforms. Nicol took over as athletic director in May 2014, and, since then, there have been some significant changes, including the incorporation of the latest athletic logo and kick-starting the Nike sponsorship.
Matt Ulrich, athletics director of media relations and game operations, said he’s been pleased about the department’s initiatives.
“[The rebranding] has been wholly positive … we never really had our own identity,” Ulrich said. “Starting this year, every [team] will have their own Nike game jerseys.”
Geoffrey Gray, a sophomore guard for the men’s basketball team, said he’s eager to show off the squad’s new jerseys this winter. Gray said the new home uniforms are all-white, and he’s looking forward to exhibiting the “underrated” look.
“It’s definitely a step up from last year,” Gray, a marketing communication major, said. “You know what they say: ‘Look good, feel good, play good.’”
Getting a Nike sponsorship, a new logo, and new jerseys isn’t cheap, but Ulrich said the process has been gradual and cost efficient. The athletic department is financing its rebranding through their budget, fundraisers, donations and the Emerson College Athletic Trust Fund.
The development of the Nike sponsorship started a three-year cycle, with 2016-2017 being the latest. The rotation will ensure that every sports club is outfitted with updated Nike equipment and jerseys.
Nike uniforms are primarily distributed to teams based on need. The first teams to get new jerseys were those that needed more or needed new ones, according to Ulrich.
“[Nike] covers all the sports we have, and it had the best selection of gear to meet our needs,” Ulrich said. “Nike has a great reputation, and, most of the time, a classier look.”
Gray gave the athletic administration high praise for what it’s done so far to promote the virtue of Emerson athletics.
“The [men’s basketball] team has been getting a lot more respect recently starting with the new gym … the new logo, and now new jerseys,” Gray said. “It’s definitely a step in the right direction.”