Watching the Rose Bowl on Jan 2 inspired CMU Athletics Director Dave Heeke.
The former associate athletics director at the University of Oregon watched the Oregon football team storm out of the tunnel wearing specialized green and yellow Nike jerseys and chrome helmets.
On Tuesday, Heeke took to Twitter to gauge fan interest in the possibility of developing specialty uniforms for the Central Michigan football team.
“Looking for CMU fans thoughts on developing specialty uniforms,” Heeke wrote. “Last night’s Oregon Ducks were something else! Should we do it?”
On Thursday, Heeke confirmed the idea, saying development of alternate uniforms is part of the athletic department’s contract with Adidas.
“I’ve seen the benefits firsthand,” Heeke said. “I’ve been involved in the creation of that at Oregon and it has since gone across the country.”
Heeke was behind the football team’s maroon and gold specialty uniforms worn against Ball State in 2008, and the athletic department’s uniform contract with Adidas in 2009 that brought consistency to all of the CMU teams.
“Uniforms are a big part of recruiting and an expectation of an elite-level football program,” Heeke said. “It’s how you market and brand yourself. It’s good for our football program, recruiting, branding our department, and we’re going to continue to look at ways to do that.”
Heeke said nothing has been determined yet, and he continues to seek input from fans. There are a number of options available, from having jerseys decked out with chrome helmets like Oregon to having throwbacks developed. Costs are steep and could reach $100,000, funds that would likely come out of the athletics department budget. The jerseys would also be available for retail purchase.
Heeke said he is looking at debuting specialty uniforms as soon as next season. For which game (Michigan State?), or how many games, remain up for debate.
“It’s a huge commitment,” Heeke said. “But if our program wants to grow, those are some of the commitments we have to make. We have to sell more tickets, generate more donor dollars, have more interest from fans – we have to continue to be successful across the board.”