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When do the gimmicks go too far?

God, this looks stupid
This is a design that Northwestern University is contemplating adopting for the 2011-2012 basketball season.

Let’s take a quick UK break to address a problem plaguing the college sports landscape even worse than free tattoos and impermissible phone calls during AAU tournaments. As some of you may know, I’m going into my junior year at Northwestern. I came to Northwestern because of the journalism school, but also because I knew that I could continue to root for UK without feeling like I betrayed my school. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a Northwestern football and basketball fan, but the culture here isn’t anywhere close to what UK has in either sport. It’s especially easy to support NU in basketball. We’re the only team in a Big Six conference to have never made the NCAA tournament. The bubble is cause for excitement in Evanston.

Now, Northwestern is making an effort to further its status as a laughingstock by laying down a purple court. It’s a trend that started in college athletics after the dawn of the Boise State blue turf 1986. In the past few years it has picked up even more. Eastern Washington has a red turf football field, Towson has tiger stripes on their basketball court and Oregon has a silly looking forest for their basketball team. Northwestern could be the next school to join in this ridiculous fraternity and, subsequently, rob themselves of any potential good in the case of an NCAA tournament berth. I should note that it isn’t a done deal yet. Northwestern is holding an open vote between four different court options. However, this choice has obviously garnered the most media attention and in the realm of Northwestern basketball, any media attention at all may outweigh a vote on a Facebook page.

The gimmicks have just gone too far. Say Northwestern gets this court and then, a few years down the road, makes the NCAA tournament for the first time in school history. Everything about that moment will be underscored by the fact that NU is the team with the purple court. It’s a problem that we as UK fans don’t have to deal with because our passion is focused on the team and the games played, but when will gimmicks start to work their way into even the way our team operates? If Nike says that UK could do with a blue court, who’s to say the brand won’t win out?

Boise State’s field was determined a competitive advantage by the Mountain West Conference when the Broncos wear their all blue uniforms, so for home games in-conference, those uniforms are no longer allowed. At some point will the quality of the game be lessened in favor of those elements surrounding it? I’m not really worried about it as a UK fan, but when Jarrod Polson starts shooting off the t-shirt cannon at halftime, I may change my tune.

Article written by Matthew Hays

19 Comments for When do the gimmicks go too far?

  1. Andy
    9:36 pm August 2, 2011 Permalink

    Overreaction; it wouldnt undermine a NCAA bid by Northwestern. A court is a court; let em make it purple.

  2. tdogg4033011
    9:38 pm August 2, 2011 Permalink

    Who Cares?? Let any team wear whatever color jersey, on whatever color court & UK will spank
    that ass for them.

  3. Wats
    9:38 pm August 2, 2011 Permalink

    I’m thinking Louisville needs a decal of Rick Pitino’s leg running down the front of their Gatorade jugs, with the spout somehow placed at the top. That would be ACE.

  4. Wats
    9:40 pm August 2, 2011 Permalink

    And…you know…they have to wait 15 seconds for something to come out. I’m done now.

  5. Briar Gates
    9:41 pm August 2, 2011 Permalink

    Like anyone gives a rats ass what Northwestern does.

  6. Jason
    10:07 pm August 2, 2011 Permalink

    It makes sense that Knight/Liggins/Harrelson would play in the Louisville legends game. Guys like Rondo, Wall, Bledsoe, and Cousins probably dont have it in their schedule to do two of those games. Knight fills the PG spot, and Harrelson fills Cousins space down low. Liggins could fill any other spot if somebody like Tayshaun Prince cant make it for a second game.

    Harrelson returning to the yum center would be legendary. LEGENDARY.

  7. gumby
    10:14 pm August 2, 2011 Permalink

    matthew…i, for one, agree w/you. this stuff has gotten ridiculous and some of these basketball courts are just stupid looking. logos at center court that extend to the top of each free throw circle…sometimes less is more. heck, even our beloved cats could stand to tone down the logo at rupp.

  8. Football Man
    10:32 pm August 2, 2011 Permalink

    Blue Grass Football field really makes perfect sense.
    Basketball could use the famous “parquette” wood floor like Celtics or something like the idea.

  9. CrunkieBrewster
    11:07 pm August 2, 2011 Permalink

    Who the phuk cares.

  10. BigBlue35
    11:26 pm August 2, 2011 Permalink

    Tennessee should get jail bars painted on their court/field.

  11. RealTalk
    11:37 pm August 2, 2011 Permalink


  12. That One Guy
    12:35 am August 3, 2011 Permalink

    I like it….Am I the only one?

  13. Seriously
    7:58 am August 3, 2011 Permalink


  14. Brew Crew
    8:26 am August 3, 2011 Permalink

    It’s an interesting topic to be sure. I don’t know why everyone is so anti-creative expression on this courts. Walk into any gym in America; at the college-level, all the way down to your slow/fat-guy church league (to which I’ve been a part more than I care to admit). Every one of these courts is the same – hardwood floors, a little circle or logo at half court, and maybe some paint in the lane.

    Why shouldn’t teams be allowed to make a court their own? It’s not going to bring in any 5-star recruits you wouldn’t otherwise get, but it might leave some positive experience in a borderline recruits mind. Plus, you will get some added TV time, just because you’re different than everyone else.

    It’s totally fair to paint your floor or your field whatever you want. Make it your own.

  15. CaliUKFan
    9:32 am August 3, 2011 Permalink

    lol @ Northwestern and their high school gym

  16. NU too!
    10:47 am August 3, 2011 Permalink

    I went to Northwestern, too, so I understand the pain of also rooting for the “other” Wildcats. Allowed by the NCAA/Big 10 or not, that court is just tacky. Common sense should rule. This is a gimmick to make up for having a terrible team. And they weren’t even that terrible last year.

    Now, I have to say I would love it if the white areas were purple and the purple ares were wood. I love purple, but that’s too much.

  17. tom5673
    11:40 am August 3, 2011 Permalink

    #7 – on the money. for those of us that care about the court design, uniforms, introduction videos, etc., this sh*t has gotten out of control. no coach gets “it” more than calipari, and he has taken advantage of our tradition and prestige more than any coach uk has ever had. hear me out on this one…how balls out would it be if uk not only changed uniforms to the “throwbacks” they wore in ’06, but also unveiled the original rupp arena court (red dot and all). simple, plain, traditional, in your face bad-ass cool. those of us fans over the age of 35 that remember the original red dot and simple floor design would love it. cal has done everything right so far, and this would be yet another homerun.

  18. Josh
    7:24 pm August 3, 2011 Permalink

    I don’t have a problem with this at all. Not all schools are blessed with the tradition and fan base that Kentucky basketball possesses. Some schools, in order to draw attention and add excitement, have to use gimmicks like this because they do not have tradition and winning to fall back on. Besides, what does it hurt to be different or go against the grain sometimes? I think UK football should go with some gimmicks to attract some recruits and get the fans more excited. I’m not suggesting a blue field at Commonwealth, but we should do something to make us stand out from all the other SEC schools that we have to compete against.

  19. Josh
    7:43 pm August 3, 2011 Permalink

    #17 I do not begrudge you for agreeing with #7 on this issue, but I think you’re wrong to use Calipari as an example to prove your point. Cal has used every marketing gimmick at his disposal to promote our school and our team, and I love it. I am old enough to remember the old court with the red dot. I did not care what the court looked like then, and I really don’t care what it looks like now and neither do the players that come here. Unfortunately, the players we are recruiting aren’t old enough to care about the tradition at Kentucky and, despite what anybody says, our tradition is not the reason they come here. As far as uniforms are concerned, it has been reported by KSR that UK will be introducing a couple of alternate uniforms next season so the old school thing obviously not in the near future. We have state of the art practice facilities, a great college environment, the best fans in the world, and a great coach that promotes our program and gets players to the NBA. Those are the reasons we have become the “it” school in the last couple years. Other schools cannot compete with that so they have to find a gimmick.