Checkmate: Fans Not Likely to Win Uniform Game

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Checkmate: Fans Not Likely to Win Uniform Game

By:  Michele Brown

Unless you live under a rock, you’re probably aware that a growing group of fans are really not happy with the checkerboard pattern that appears on the uniform of the University of Kentucky athletic teams.

Perhaps I’m in the minority, but the checkerboard pattern doesn’t bother me in the least.  Besides, if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my many years of being a Cats fan is that uniforms will change every year.  Sometimes the difference is subtle, other times it’s over the top.

In the early-to-mid-90’s, we were subjected to the “cat scratch” pattern and then the infamous “zigzags.”  But the ultimate insult was the denim in 1996.  Fans were outraged that our Cats would be wearing something that wasn’t “traditional” and it wasn’t Kentucky blue.  Of course, those uniforms didn’t prevent our Cats from winning the national championship that year.

Still, the complaints about the checkerboard have been continuing.  It seems people think if they complain loudly enough, UK will just toss all the uniforms and dress the players in something that would get the BBN stamp of approval.  Well, don’t hold your breath.

This whole situation reminds me of something that happened to a company my state agency did business with years ago.  (I’ve changed identifying details like the company name and their area of business, but the rest of the story is true).

This company was a leader in barn building in Kentucky.  They were so good at their job that they were even recognized nationally as one of the top barn builders in the United States.  A company that, in the early 80’s had only a handful of employees had grown to an organization of over 400 employees by the early 2000’s.   Someone in upper management decided they needed to rebrand the company and, in spite of having their own IT department with some talented graphic designers and their own marketing department that not only knew the business but had a stake in its success, an outside marketing firm was hired to come up with a new name and logo for the company.   After dropping around $40,000, this is what that marketing firm came up with:

Yes, that was the name and the logo.  Employees were stunned, then angry, and finally embarrassed.  How could the company simply ignore the stakeholders (employees) of the company and waste so much money on something so ridiculous?

The complaints fell on deaf ears, however.  The change was made, new stationery had already been printed, and all company materials were replaced to reflect the new name and logo.   After a few weeks, the complaints stopped and life went on and the business continued to be successful in spite of the unattractive logo.

Perhaps that is what the BBN will realize one day:  the uniforms do not make the team.  It’s the players that make the team.  We don’t know all the details with the Nike deal to supply uniforms and, even if we did, we aren’t the ones that will change that deal.  And while some may argue these uniforms hurt recruiting, I think recent results, especially in basketball, tell a different story.  Players aren’t signing with UK because of the uniforms.  They are signing with Kentucky because of the program.

So continue to complain all day long if you wish, but don’t hold your breath expecting those complaints to effect a change.  Besides, history has shown us that the uniforms will change again soon enough.

In the meantime, just enjoy the ride!

Follow me on Twitter @ForeverBigBlue


Michele Brown
Michele Brown
Writer at since Feb. 2015 Co-host of Big Blue Views podcast. Mom, Christian, sports junkie, golf addict and speed typist. I can cook your mama's food better than she can.


  1. Jim says:

    They chould have orange and white chechs if they really want to imitate the Vols!

  2. Gene T Wilson says:

    I like them! It is in honor of the great Secretariat!!!

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