On Wednesday, UCLA and Adidas collaborated to roll out alternate gray uniforms they dubbed “L.A. Steel.”
The ensemble was modeled by a football player against an avante garde, zig-zag studio backdrop. The gold numbering gleamed. The material accentuated the contours of an athletic physique.
Whether they loved it or hated it, fans saw the best side of “L.A. Steel.”
The night before, a Utah football rebrand leaked on Amazon.com, represented by a baggy, T-sleeved replica jersey against a stark white backdrop. On Wednesday, those replicas appeared in stores.
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” lang=”en”><p>New 2014 <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/UtahFootball?src=hash”>#UtahFootball</a> jerseys are now at <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/Scheels?src=hash”>#Scheels</a>! <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/GoUtes?src=hash”>#GoUtes</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/UtahManAmI?src=hash”>#UtahManAmI</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/SLCstylee?src=hash”>#SLCstylee</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/WasatchMountains?src=hash”>#WasatchMountains</a> <a href=”http://t.co/J1vwsMZCnw”>http://t.co/J1vwsMZCnw</a></p>— Exciteable Ute (@FreeWride) <a href=”https://twitter.com/FreeWride/statuses/489539807014842368”>July 16, 2014</a></blockquote>
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There was no photo shoot. No special lighting. In fact, the football team still has not received what is widely expected to be a slicker version of the mountain-themed treads.
(For comparison, click here to see replica versions of “L.A. Steel.”)
So the question became, how was that allowed to happen? Who screwed up?
“There’s no one in particular to blame,” said Kyle Brennan, associate athletic director for administration on Friday. “We just need to get the communication with Under Armour tightened up.”
Brennan said it’s the first time this has happened in this order. The school has since contacted Under Armour and asked that in the future they get the team’s fitted uniforms earlier, or that they receive three uniforms in advance of retail that they could unveil with an “L.A. Steel”-style presentation.
“We would much prefer to release it under our control,” he said.
Brennan said he understands the rampant dissatisfaction, but he asks that fans wait to see what the real thing looks like — not on the hanger or in a white void, but as they were meant to be seen: on the players.
— Matthew Piper