Illinois has undergone an 18-month project with Nike to come up with new uniforms and a new brand (7 p.m. Wednesday at Krannert). This is the first opportunity for the public to see the changes that several Illinois sports teams will wear next school year.
School officials have kept mum on the new look, but it's safe to say it will be a far cry from the days of Red Grange's original jersey. Here's an early look
What do you think? Tell us here
Here's how Miami reacted when the Hurricanes recently were shown their new look
Questions and answers:
Can I go?
If you have a ticket, then yes. If not, you're most likely out of luck as it is a sold-out event and will have to see photos of the new attire in Thursday's News-Gazette. Tickets were never sold, but distributed to Illinois athletes and staff members, athltetic-related student groups and I Fund members who live within 30 miles of Champaign-Urbana on a first-come, first-served basis.
What's the hour-long program going to consist of?
Chancellor Phyllis Wise and athletic director Mike Thomas will make short remarks at the start. Todd Van Horne, the vice president and creative director for Nike football and baseball, will then give an overview of the creative process that went into the rebranding. Once all the talking is done, the real fun will start with the various athletes walking out in the new attire. The program should wrap up by 8 p.m.
— Flightstar (@FlightstarCMI) April 16, 2014
When can I buy the new gear?
Soon. Like around 7:30 Wednesday. That's when the items are going to be on sale online at fightingillini.com or available in person at GameDay Spirit and TIS College Bookstores around C-U before it is gradually introduced to local retail centers. People who attend tonight's event can also purchase a limited number of apparel items in the lobby at Krannert Center.
Public feedback — good, bad or indifferent — is bound to happen. After tonight's event, Illinois will hold another rebranding event at NikeTown Chicago along North Michigan Avenue at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday. Thomas, John Groce and Tim Beckman are all slated to attend.
How did Nike come up with the rebrand?
"They know a lot about our athletic history and the culture of the university. They came in last February — the same day we beat Indiana when they were No. 1, just by coincidence — and they interviewed our administration, a group of our head coaches, a group of about 15 student-athletes and then all of our marketing/creative team. Each one really asked about what they thought the Illinois brand was, what we wanted to be, what student-athletes wanted (and) what prospective student-athletes wanted. They actually made a return trip and researched the state. They spent time in the archives and talked to archivists on campus. They really tried to get an understanding of the history and tradition as well as kind of what we're hoping to achieve and what the future Illini may want as well." — Marty Kaufmann, Illinois assistant athletic director
Will the orange look the same?
"Orange is tough regardless, and my degree certainly wasn't in graphic design. There's a lot of oranges, and manufacturers sometimes only stock a couple different oranges, so you're either going to have the Illinois or Florida or Syracuse orange or the Tennessee orange or the Texas orange. Everybody has their true palette, but not everybody replicates it. The uniform has always been kind of consistent with the orange, but some of the other things we produce aren't the same shade. We hope that you'll see everything replicate more now what the teams are wearing on the field." — Kaufmann
What they're saying?
"When you look at them, they give you that feel of energy like they're on fire. They pop at you. That's the great thing about them. That was what we were trying to accomplish in the design." — John Groce
What athletes will be there to model the new attire?
Here’s the breakdown of athletes by sport:
Men’s basketball: Tracy Abrams, Nnanna Egwu and Rayvonte Rice
Football: Simon Cvijanovic, Matt LaCosse and Donovonn Young
Women’s basketball: Jacqui Grant, Sarah Livingston and Kyley Simmons
Volleyball: Jocelynn Birks, Maddie Mayers and Alexis Viliunas
Baseball: Ryan Castellanos and Will Krug
Soccer: Hope D’Addario and Claire Wheatley