Blue blood football programs can set the standard

I’ve often heard the “blue-bloods don’t wear alternate color schemes” talk, with fans holding onto “tradition” a little too tightly. It’s time to exercise the frontal lobe and open the door to a bit of creativity while still holding onto the “blue blood” aura.

Whether Sooner fans like it or not, the football team will sport “Unity” uniforms for Saturday’s home game against Kansas to honor, well, unity and former running back Prentice Gautt, the first Black scholarship football player and OU.

Yes, the Sooners are considered a blueblood in college football due to their decades of being near the top of the sport while constantly pushing out professional-caliber athletes yearly. Though that’s a fact, it doesn’t mean blue-bloods have to be monotonous in their appearance – yes, they can mix it up a bit. 

I have no clue where this stance comes from. If blue blood football programs are the standard, why can’t they make the rules, and why is it wrong to add an authentic, stylish approach to the team’s appearance on the field? 

I get it – some people think it’s a call for attention by “lesser” schools – a way to entice fans to come to more games, or a tactic to get more national attention toward the program. 

There’s a difference – Oklahoma doesn’t do this often. They’re due for one uniform that doesn’t look like the others. They’re due for a uniform that represents unity and honors an individual as iconic as Prentice Gautt.

“We wanted to make a statement that was way broader, something that stood out more than just a practice jersey,” said Caleb Kelly, a former OU linebacker who is now a director for the football team’s SOUL Mission program. “When we’re all together wearing that ‘Sooners,’ we’re all one. We wanted to make sure we exemplified unity in our uniform.”

Gautt, a former Frederick A. Douglass High School standout out of Oklahoma City, OK, enrolled at OU in 1956 and was one of Bud Wilkinson’s brightest stars on the field. Gautt was a two-time All-Big Eight Conference selection and was an Academic All-American in 1958. After graduating in 1960, he earned a doctorate in counseling psychology at the University of Missouri.

Gautt played professionally for the Cleveland Browns in 1960 and the St. Louis Cardinals from 1961 to 1967.

Without making this an all-out history lesson, which OU touched on already, I’m here to say that the blue blood doesn’t have to keep that stoic appearance that hides behind “tradition.” They can step out and set the new standard for other blue bloods out there. 

About Author

Founder & Editor-in-Chief. National Association of Black Journalists. University of Central Oklahoma.

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