Many athletes have probably heard about the new decision that will take effect within the next four years: banning the color black from the official Keene State sports teams’ uniforms, with the exception of women’s volleyball.
Several teams in the past have incorporated the shade into their team uniforms and apparel, with many representing the entire uniform itself as black, and it is about time that the record is set straight.
Teams from soccer to baseball, and teams of every season, have all at one point or another adopted black as an “official Keene State College color.”
The reasons concerning this innovative regulation are fairly simple; black is not a Keene State College color.
KSC’s school colors consist of white and red, primarily red, and have remained these colors for the past 102 years that the school has existed.
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Several of KSC’s sports teams and their opponents may have assumed differently. KSC Athletic Director John Ratliff had an abundance to say regarding this decision.
According to Ratliff, teams have developed the habit of wearing black shorts or an all-black uniform on the road to represent Keene State, which is simply not okay.
“We got away from white and red for a while, and all of a sudden we had teams wearing all black representing Keene State,” Ratliff said.
He explained specifically what would be appropriate for the team’s attire both on the home turf and the road.
“The body color is our main concern, which needs to be either white or red, so the trim color of uniforms can be black,” Ratliff said. “But it’s body red or body white with the exception of away shorts, which we’re going to allow black.”
Ratliff mentioned that because of budget constraints, there is about a three- to four-year replacement cycle for uniforms. “There will be no new uniforms this year because we don’t have the money to tell the teams, ‘Okay, now go throw out all of your black shorts,’” he said. “So it will be about four years before the complete change takes effect, and the teams start seeing new uniforms.”
Ratliff also explained how this cycle may have spun out of control.
“We started by allowing black shorts on the road because it is such a neutral color,, then all of a sudden, kids were like, ‘Oh okay, we can wear black,’ and it took over from there,” Ratliff said.
He mentioned the conditions for putting black in the uniforms should have been more specific when permitted.
“It was funny, we were watching a video of a game, and you’re watching it and you didn’t know which team was Keene State because they were all in black. The other team is in white and red and it’s like, ‘Oh wait a minute, which team is Keene State?’” Ratliff said.
The only teams exempt from the decision were women’s volleyball and baseball, although Ratliff mentioned that the away pants for baseball are grey, based on tradition.
“The tradition of baseball for away pants has always been grey, but it’s going to be grey with red, all the trim colors will include the color red,” he said. “But really that’s the only uniform where the predominant color won’t be white or red.”
Women’s volleyball on the other hand has been granted the right to keep the black spandex as a part of its official uniform, mainly because wearing any other color, especially red or white, would show sweat, which would be a very uncomfortable for players.
“The team gave a real rationale for why they shouldn’t wear red, or any other color for that matter, other than black, and we said that’s fine,” Ratliff said. “A college’s school colors are much more critical than just representation through its athletic teams; it represents us as a school as well, and the many students of that school who participate in various activities such as the dance team, music bands, Greek Life, academic and organizational committees, student body, and any other clubs or activities that may require the Keene State colors.”
Ratliff stressed how important the uniformity in the school colors is to representing the school.
“It is imperative that we as a school know our colors and represent them as they are to opposing schools,” said Ratliff. “We need to get back to who we really are, back to our true colors.”
Lyndsay Krisel can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org