Future of UH road uniforms unclear
By Ferd Lewis
Advertiser Staff Writer
The University of Hawai'i acknowledges its new road uniforms can make it difficult for fans, broadcasters and statisticians to identify the Warrior players, and is working to find a solution, Western Athletic Conference commissioner Karl Benson said yesterday.
Benson said media outlets from Idaho, Hawai'i and ESPN have complained to him about the difficulty in reading the Warriors' silver-on-white numbers. After seeing the uniforms in person Saturday, Benson said he contacted the NCAA for an interpretation of the rule specifying that white uniforms must have contrasting numbers.
"So as long as the numbers are distinguishable by the officials, which we have heard they did not have a problem, then they are not quote illegal," Benson said.
Statisticians at both Michigan State and Idaho had problems identifying UH players.
Idaho sports information director Becky Paul said her statistics crew had a two-fold problem. "Certainly the colors made it difficult but there were also double numbers (offensive and defensive players sharing the same jersey numbers)."
At Michigan State, media were eight stories up on a sunny day. At Idaho, the media were 35 rows up in a domed arena.
"Hawai'i recognizes there is a problem and is looking at possible options," Benson said after conversations with UH.
"We will take a look and see if there can be a reversal of uniforms for our remaining road games. Karl (Benson) and I will continue to talk," UH athletic director Herman Frazier said.
Following the Michigan State game, UH officials said the school contacted the uniform's manufacturer, Nike, but was advised nothing could be done to correct the problem with the current uniforms.
A replacement set could cost as much as $25,000 and might not be available for a month or more. The last of UH's three remaining road games is Nov. 5 at Nevada. At least two more UH road games will be televised this season.
Benson said other than requesting the opposing team to wear light jerseys so UH, the visitor, could wear the darker jerseys traditionally worn by the home team, there may not be many options.
"There is the question of: What can they do (at this date in the season)?" Benson said.
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