The players want to look good but for the schools, football uniforms can be very expensive.
The University of Oregon can run a different uniform combination for the next few seasons
That’s not happening for the school in Butler County. Most schools in the county will wear their traditional home and away uniforms without sniffing out anything that resembles a vintage or a throwback.
“We’d like to do that,” El Dorado Athletic Director Scott Vang said. “Financially, It’s just not feasible.”
Oregon, unlike Butler County is located near the Nike campus and they have this direct agreement with Nike. The schools in Butler County don’t have that luxury.
When you venture south into Texas, where football is king. There are 30,000-seat stadiums and speciality contracts with Distributors. Just as in the Frisco school district, all four high schools were given brand new Nike ID uniforms this season.
Down in Oklahoma, perennial power Guthrie, Oklahoma, which is about the same enrollment of Maize, has four different uniforms. They’re able to sport white, black, gray or blue.
Here in Kansas, Derby is known for their multitude of uniforms. The school will purchase the home and away uniforms. The rest is done through their booster program, known as the Derby Parent Football Group. They’ll fundraise money and that’s where you’ve seen the camouflage uniforms, the vintage green ones.
“Since we don’t wear them [every uniform] they tend to last longer than a normal set,” Derby Athletic Director Russell Baldwin said.
Most sports have a life span, football is probably the one that has a set year goal of 4-5 years, but in reality, due to ripped jerseys, they’ll be replaced on as needed basis. Derby’s camo uniforms have lasted eight years so far.
Schools are giving the players some control with liimited options. Derby approves which uniforms can be worn during the season and the seniors can vote on which combinations to wear.
“The seniors voted on them and it adds some extra excitement when it comes to deciding what to wear on Friday night,” Andover senior quarterback Eli Fahnestock said.
That’s what football is about, right? Getting excited to run out in the fan tunnel on Friday night? It helps that you feel like a million bucks when doing so. Many can attest to the mental part of the game being a large portion of the actual game.
“You might play better if you feel like you look,” Vang said.
The average set for a high school uniform for a set of 60 players can be approximately $15,000 for a home and road set according to Nike. Often teams are given discounts for buying in bulk
Typically, schools provide the starter essentials such as the home-road jerseys. The safety equipment. There are few instances in other sports, such as basketball, where the school may have a contract with a vendor. That doesn’t apply to football in most cases.
“Here at El Dorado, we apply the necessary safety equipment for the athletes,” Vang said.
The safety equipment can take a hit on the pocketbook, too. For helmets and shoulders pads, they’ll run approximately another $30,000 if you’re going the base brands. For the higher level of products, you could see your expenses run around $50,000.
These prices do not include the reconditioning of helmets, which can run anywhere from $30-40 per helmet.
“Safety is our biggest issue over uniforms,” Vang said. “We want the kids to be safe. That’s our No. 1 concern.”
There are other small expenses, such as buying new footballs, which can run around $800 a year. Then, there are practice equipment, replacement jerseys; other things like mouthguards and extra chinstraps.
So, there’s not much money left for specialty uniforms.
The uniforms are nice, though. It’s about the fan and player engagement. The ability to give different options can fuel a big game.
“The kids love the ability to mix and match,” Russell said.
Andover is one of the few schools in Butler County who will sport a different look at times outside of the multi-colored options. For the first time, they have a secondary decal for the helmets.
“It’s all about having the second pants,” Riedy said. “We can go all white; all blu; a lot of options.. It provides us a lot of other combinations.
It’s also a lot cheaper to buy a second pant set than a set of new helmets.”
El Dorado has adopted this combination. With new Nike uniforms, the Wildcats can go a number of different ways with their red and their white combinations.
“It’s all about looking good, so you feel good, right,” Vang said. “Then you play good.”
Andover will have multiple helmets this season. Their traditional “A” helmet. They have two specialized decals that will be released at a later date.
Sometimes, it can provide a bit of suspense to those who haven’t seen maybe the new outfit or a new decal. The unveiling has become a part of the uniform as well.
“It gets the kids excited,” Riedy said. “That’s what we like about it.”
“We also have another surprise decal which we have not revealed yet,” Fahnestock said.
Look good? Feel good? Definitely something the players are wanting on Friday nights.