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IU fan wants school to return to red

January 18, 2011

    BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — An Indiana University fan is pressing the ‘‘Cream and Crimson’’ school to dump its team uniforms’ traditional deep red color and return to the brighter shade of red the Hoosiers sported for decades after adopting that hue in the 1970s.
    New Albany dentist William ‘‘Woody’’ Oakes has started a website calling on the university to ‘‘Return the Red.’’ The IU grad says 63 percent of poll respondents to his site agree with him that the school should switch its uniforms back to red.
    Historical photos of IU sports teams show that cream and crimson were consistently used until the 1970s, when former Hoosiers basketball coach Bob Knight and football coach Lee Corso started using uniforms that were more scarlet or bright red. During the same time, cream gave way almost universally to white.
    But those colors reverted back mostly to cream and crimson in the early 2000s, after then-athletics director Michael McNeely decided that the team uniforms needed to reflect the school’s official colors of cream and crimson.
    The Herald-Times reports that it’s unclear how much it cost the athletics department to change out the uniforms to a crimson hue. And the newspaper said neither McNeely, nor his successor, Rick Greenspan, or current AD Fred Glass, ever attained universal consistency with the uniforms and the official school colors.
    Oakes, who graduated in 1974 from IU’s School of Dentistry, said that not only do the basketball team’s candy-striped pants clash with the crimson tops, but IU cheerleaders still chant ‘‘Go Big Red’’ and the image of Bob Knight in a red sweater remains an Indiana icon.
    ‘‘The original intent was to create unity and it’s done just the opposite,’’ Oakes said. ‘‘I’ve had season tickets for 30-something years and now you go and there’s people in red sweaters, burgundy shirts, and some kind of crimson. So it’s had the opposite effect of creating any kind of unity.’’
    Oakes, 63, said his website — www.returnthered.com — is all in fun but he still hopes it might prod his alma mater into switching back to the Knight-era colors.
    Glass told the Herald-Times that he cringes when he sees that the baseball team’s jackets are a different color than their caps and uniforms, and that he’s ‘‘spent more time on this subject than I’d like to admit.’’
    ‘‘I am sympathetic to the desire to have a more consistent look in terms of the logos and colors and such,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s a work in progress to bring some consistency to the color.’’
    ‘‘My view is that we’re an awfully big and diverse place,’’ Glass said. ‘‘I think cream and crimson and ‘Go Big Red’ can survive in one place.’’
    Only four other major college programs claim crimson as their dominant color: Alabama, Harvard, Oklahoma and Washington State. And only Oklahoma pairs crimson with cream.
    ‘‘I did tell Tom Osborne, the AD at Nebraska, that we need to create a new trophy game — maybe for the right to claim to be the true big red in the Big Ten,’’ Glass said. ‘‘We might have some fun with that.’’

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