I didn’t see or hear anything about the Emus loss to the Kangaroos yesterday in mLive (though there is this post at Eagle Totem for those who are interested in any details), but I did notice news in my EMU feed from the official EMU web site, “EMU Debuts New Look in Akron.” That “new look” is new helmets, which are done in “a custom flat forest green metallic color, featuring a chrome diamond plate Block E logo on the side.”
Now, I realize that all EMU is doing here is following/chasing a trend in college football where teams are making things “exciting” by adding new uniforms and colors. There are lots of teams doing this nowadays; in fact, I believe Akron had new outfits at the game. And for all I know, maybe it is actually necessary for college football players go through a couple of helmets a year anyway. I kind of assume that helmets actually last pretty much forever, but maybe all the banging causes a lot of wear and tear and they have to be replaced.
But there is something about this latest weird marketing of “The Factory” look that really bugs me.
Let’s say these helmets cost $300 apiece (and they might have been a lot more than that), and let’s say there are 100 players on the EMU team (though I think that number is more like 120). That’s at least $30,000 for helmets, and probably a lot more– not because the team needed new helmets but as a fashion accessory.
Normally, I don’t like these kinds of comparisons of “the money we waste on football (or landscaping or computers or administrators or whatever) could be better spent on this other more important thing” because budgets don’t work quite like that. But $30K is actually a lot of money around here. For example, if the folks in Welch Hall were able to “find” $30K to distribute to departments to make up for budget cuts, faculty would be thrilled. $30K goes a long way toward funding scholarships. And so forth.
But hey, they’ll look good against the backdrop of the grey turf.