Illinois Football Uniforms

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#2      
First Place Shopping GIF by Target
 
#6      

LadyLoyalty

Indian Wells, CA
Here’s hoping there's some changes this year. The football uni’s/helmets are bland and tired. In fact, the entire athletic department needs a new brand identity.
 
#10      

redwingillini11

White and Sixth
North Aurora

Because we often talk about University branding here, I thought I would repost this here.

The gist is that the University is pushing a hierarchy of branding: 1) Illinois; 2) U of I; 3) Urbana. Additionally, "UIUC" is being phased out.

I find it to be a puzzling move. I think UIUC is actually a very helpful acronym to have on hand. It is very unique, it can't be mistaken for another school. It is easy to say; I think UIUC comes off the tongue easier than U of I. I also recall using UIUC when Google-ing looking for specific university websites. I've heard younger generations use UIUC much more often than U of I. I just don't see why it was necessary to make this move.

Rather, I think the intent to use "Urbana" is kind of silly. Now, their intent is clearly to have a name that people use like "Berkeley," "Madison," "Austin," etc. But the problem is that 99% of students and alums and people in the State colloquially refer to the school/town as "Champaign." Expecting everyone to switch over to "Urbana" from "Champaign" overnight is a pretty lofty goal. If it works, then great. But this just sounds like something that sounds good in a Board room but just ever work out well in the real world.
 
#11      

Because we often talk about University branding here, I thought I would repost this here.

The gist is that the University is pushing a hierarchy of branding: 1) Illinois; 2) U of I; 3) Urbana. Additionally, "UIUC" is being phased out.

I find it to be a puzzling move. I think UIUC is actually a very helpful acronym to have on hand. It is very unique, it can't be mistaken for another school. It is easy to say; I think UIUC comes off the tongue easier than U of I. I also recall using UIUC when Google-ing looking for specific university websites. I've heard younger generations use UIUC much more often than U of I. I just don't see why it was necessary to make this move.

Rather, I think the intent to use "Urbana" is kind of silly. Now, their intent is clearly to have a name that people use like "Berkeley," "Madison," "Austin," etc. But the problem is that 99% of students and alums and people in the State colloquially refer to the school/town as "Champaign." Expecting everyone to switch over to "Urbana" from "Champaign" overnight is a pretty lofty goal. If it works, then great. But this just sounds like something that sounds good in a Board room but just ever work out well in the real world.
This consolidation is long overdue. To me, UIUC always seemed like an overly complicated identifier driven by the academic side without regard for the need for a strong, simple and straight forward identifier on the athletic side.

As an aside, my family was a neighbor of the Kaler family for 5 years during my late grade school through early high school years. Very nice people. it's nice to see that little Robin has grown into a successful professional woman.
 
#12      
Personally, I love this. UIUC sort of identifies Illinois as simply a piece of the whole. We need kids at UIC and UIS being rabid Illini fans because they think of that as their natural team because they’re part of the “Illinois System.” A school like UIC should be seen as just an extension of the Illini Universe that’s only somewhere else due to coincidence and logistics.
 
#13      

ChiefGritty

Chicago, IL

Because we often talk about University branding here, I thought I would repost this here.

The gist is that the University is pushing a hierarchy of branding: 1) Illinois; 2) U of I; 3) Urbana. Additionally, "UIUC" is being phased out.

I find it to be a puzzling move. I think UIUC is actually a very helpful acronym to have on hand. It is very unique, it can't be mistaken for another school. It is easy to say; I think UIUC comes off the tongue easier than U of I. I also recall using UIUC when Google-ing looking for specific university websites. I've heard younger generations use UIUC much more often than U of I. I just don't see why it was necessary to make this move.

Rather, I think the intent to use "Urbana" is kind of silly. Now, their intent is clearly to have a name that people use like "Berkeley," "Madison," "Austin," etc. But the problem is that 99% of students and alums and people in the State colloquially refer to the school/town as "Champaign." Expecting everyone to switch over to "Urbana" from "Champaign" overnight is a pretty lofty goal. If it works, then great. But this just sounds like something that sounds good in a Board room but just ever work out well in the real world.
I swear they already did (or tried) this like 20 years ago.
 
#14      
Personally, I love this. UIUC sort of identifies Illinois as simply a piece of the whole. We need kids at UIC and UIS being rabid Illini fans because they think of that as their natural team because they’re part of the “Illinois System.” A school like UIC should be seen as just an extension of the Illini Universe that’s only somewhere else due to coincidence and logistics.
As a UIC grad

The whole UI system needs a massive injection of energy. I don't think UIC should just be an extension of Illinois. The schools are really not that similar and their "vibes" or whatever are not that similar.

I would love for busloads of UIC students to shuttle down to Memorial Stadium on Saturdays but unfortunately based on my 4 years at UIC those busses would be empty in reality. That's not why people choose UIC.
 
#15      
As a UIC grad

The whole UI system needs a massive injection of energy. I don't think UIC should just be an extension of Illinois. The schools are really not that similar and their "vibes" or whatever are not that similar.

I would love for busloads of UIC students to shuttle down to Memorial Stadium on Saturdays but unfortunately based on my 4 years at UIC those busses would be empty in reality. That's not why people choose UIC.
Right, but it does not have to be that way! What college football team do you think 90% of students at the 12 other University of Wisconsin campuses cheer for?? UIC doesn't have a football team, and students there should be "naturally" Illini fans, and I am sure there are a lot of things the U of I System could do to make that more the case.
 
#16      
Right, but it does not have to be that way! What college football team do you think 90% of students at the 12 other University of Wisconsin campuses cheer for?? UIC doesn't have a football team, and students there should be "naturally" Illini fans, and I am sure there are a lot of things the U of I System could do to make that more the case.

They should be, and need to be given a reason to be Illini fans. No argument there. But if I had to guess, I would guess more kids who grew up in Illinois end up at Wisconsin or Iowa than they do at Illinois. It requires a massive refocus and maybe it's just me but I don't feel like the school administration really wants to do that.
 
#17      
They should be, and need to be given a reason to be Illini fans. No argument there. But if I had to guess, I would guess more kids who grew up in Illinois end up at Wisconsin or Iowa than they do at Illinois. It requires a massive refocus and maybe it's just me but I don't feel like the school administration really wants to do that.
FWIW, I understand this is a popular narrative, but I do not believe the bolded can be mathematically true. I saw once that Iowa is about 30% Illinois kids, which would equate to about 6,600 total undergrad students. Per the Illinois website, Illinois is over 70% instate, which would equate to a minimum of 25,000 undergraduates at Illinois. :cool:
 
#18      

ChiefGritty

Chicago, IL
The truth of it is, the University of Illinois is stuck serving a state that has three very culturally distinct and often suspicious of each other pieces in Chicago, the suburbs, and the remainder of the state.

I'm a purebred sicko Illini fan and I still think of myself more as a Chicagoan than an Illinoisan. It's hard, it's just the nature of the beast.
 
#19      

The Galloping Ghost

Washington, DC
I swear they already did (or tried) this like 20 years ago.
Yeah, when they switched the URL from UIUC to just straight-up Illinois.

As an out-of-state student in the early 2000s who never stepped foot in the state till move-in day, I was honestly shocked that the school referred to itself as UIUC. I had zero clue that was a thing. Nobody I knew at the time from the DC area referred to it that way or, frankly, had a clue what that acronym meant. Honestly, I thought it was kind of small time. While now, obviously, I'm used to it, I still do think it's beneath us. We're the flagship school. We should have the branding of Illinois. Yes, the state lends itself to different regions, but the flagship shouldn't be regional. It's the focal point. It's the institution that should bring pride to the entire state. It's the school every single student should want to attend and every sports fan should want to cheer for no matter what part of the state they are from. This rebranding helps establish that.
 
#20      
The truth of it is, the University of Illinois is stuck serving a state that has three very culturally distinct and often suspicious of each other pieces in Chicago, the suburbs, and the remainder of the state.

I'm a purebred sicko Illini fan and I still think of myself more as a Chicagoan than an Illinoisan. It's hard, it's just the nature of the beast.

I agree with this. I mean maybe there's some day for our kids or grandkids where there's a high speed rail to the University of Illinois from Chicago/Springfield, but until then the only thing the school can do to prop up the program is win I guess.
 
#21      
The truth of it is, the University of Illinois is stuck serving a state that has three very culturally distinct and often suspicious of each other pieces in Chicago, the suburbs, and the remainder of the state.

I'm a purebred sicko Illini fan and I still think of myself more as a Chicagoan than an Illinoisan. It's hard, it's just the nature of the beast.
Very true, and I do not expect that we would ever approach the levels of instate dominance you see in Wisconsin, let alone Iowa or Nebraska. However...

1. We realistically should have Iowa-level dominance in Central Illinois - a population of over 2 million people. I would say we enjoy this level of support in the areas around Champaign, but it remains a realistic-if-optimistic goal to have kids in Peoria, Springfield, Bloomington, etc. growing up as diehard Illini fans regardless of where their parents went to school - the kind of thing I can say happens in Iowa from firsthand experience.

2. We should shoot for Michigan State-level appeal in Northern Illinois (excluding Chicago) and Southern Illinois, IMO. In other words, it might take a parent being an alum and/or having a connection to the U of I to be a big fan, but we should also pick up just as many if not more casual fans as out-of-state schools. For example, a high school kid in Rockford looking for a team to cheer for should not be MORE likely to cheer for the Badgers than the Illini ... same for the Quad Cities and Iowa/Illini, the Metro East and Mizzou/Illini, Southern Illinois and Kentucky/Illini, etc. I think we are punching below our weight here.

3. It is probably only realistic to expect our Chicago Area fan base to mostly consist of alumni and their families (though I myself am a contradiction to this being a non-alum fan in Chicago, and I will say there are more of us than is assumed!!). However, just given the massive population of the Chicago MSA, we should always be doing aggressive fan outreach up here. Even just picking up a small percentage of the unaffiliated fans who think to themselves, "Hey, I guess the natural choice is to cheer for the state school" equates to a significant boost in fan support. * Additional comment at the bottom, slightly OT.

This all obviously must compliment engaging Illinois' massive alumni base. I feel right now that we are about equally average (given the expectations for each category) at engaging our alumni base and #1-3 above. Just by engaging alumni and doing #1 effectively, you already would have a bigger football fan base than Iowa. If you do #1 and #2 well, you are talking a program whose TV following likely keeps it safe in any conference reshuffling in 10 years or so. Obviously, if we ever did all of these even at a B- level or above, you are talking about a VERY large fan base.

Obviously that was a bit of a ramble, and people might not agree with my assumptions here. My personal guess is that by being about a B at engaging alumni, a B+ at #1, a C at #2 and a C- at #3, we end up with a football fan base that would have a "gross" total of fans somewhere between Iowa and Wisconsin, but our "active" fan base would be between a Maryland and an Iowa. Again, just total guesses.

Either way, I think all can agree there is room for improvement regardless of how high or low the ceiling is, and it will be essential to engage as many potential fans as possible in the next decade as conferences realign. At least IMO. While we might think our situation is difficult in some ways, we should be thankful we at least have this room to improve. There are only so many alumni a school like Northwestern or Wake Forest can engage, and there are only so many potential fan populations schools like Kansas State, Iowa State, Ole Miss, etc. can even tap into in the first place. Again, sorry for the rant, haha ... fan base size/geography/dynamics/etc. is one of my more obscure side obsessions.

* I will also die on this hill RE: Chicago NCAA football fandom after living here since 2019 and somewhat aggressively trying to notice the college sports apparel we see around in that timeframe. Chicago is obviously a pro sports city first and foremost, and that must be taken into account. It is also a cosmopolitan city that has a "trans-state" feel that only so many other cities like New York have (compared to an undoubtedly major city like Detroit that is nonetheless quintessentially "Michigan"), and this means TONS of alumni from other schools that will always keep Illinois from dominating the market. You also have a strange obsession with Notre Dame from a vocal (smaller-than-assumed-by-most) minority that supports Notre Dame because of the Catholic angle, and that will always be a factor. With that said ... I have lived here while Northwestern made the Big Ten Championship Game, Iowa football was ranked #2 in the nation, Michigan literally won a National Championship, Notre Dame made the College Football Playoff, etc., and I will say this - NO school actually increases its ceiling for fans here when they are good like Illinois. I always see a good number of Notre Dame and Michigan shirts, but it barely increased when they each had generationally special seasons. Meanwhile, Illinois will go from a "first among equals" status among the crowd to decidedly #1 in relatively short order when we get good. The uptick in 2022 was very noticeable to me, and the basketball uptick since I moved here (again, we were bad then!!) has been VERY significant to the point that I am convinced the #2 basketball fan base is a materially distant second. It is my pretty strong opinion that regardless of where things stand today, the "casual" or "unaffiliated" or whatever college sports fan in Chicago is decidedly more likely to jump on an Illini bandwagon than any other school. Unfortunately, it ALWAYS takes wins to attract a casual fan.
 
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#22      
Ahhh a fellow non-alum fan in Chicago(I'm in the western burbs but that counts right??? Right????)
 
#23      

ChiefGritty

Chicago, IL
Very true, and I do not expect that we would ever approach the levels of instate dominance you see in Wisconsin, let alone Iowa or Nebraska. However...

1. We realistically should have Iowa-level dominance in Central Illinois - a population of over 2 million people. I would say we enjoy this level of support in the areas around Champaign, but it remains a realistic-if-optimistic goal to have kids in Peoria, Springfield, Bloomington, etc. growing up as diehard Illini fans regardless of where their parents went to school - the kind of thing I can say happens in Iowa from firsthand experience.

2. We should shoot for Michigan State-level appeal in Northern Illinois (excluding Chicago) and Southern Illinois, IMO. In other words, it might take a parent being an alum and/or having a connection to the U of I to be a big fan, but we should also pick up just as many if not more casual fans as out-of-state schools. For example, a high school kid in Rockford looking for a team to cheer for should not be MORE likely to cheer for the Badgers than the Illini ... same for the Quad Cities and Iowa/Illini, the Metro East and Mizzou/Illini, Southern Illinois and Kentucky/Illini, etc. I think we are punching below our weight here.

3. It is probably only realistic to expect our Chicago Area fan base to mostly consist of alumni and their families (though I myself am a contradiction to this being a non-alum fan in Chicago, and I will say there are more of us than is assumed!!). However, just given the massive population of the Chicago MSA, we should always be doing aggressive fan outreach up here. Even just picking up a small percentage of the unaffiliated fans who think to themselves, "Hey, I guess the natural choice is to cheer for the state school" equates to a huge boost in fan support.

This all obviously must compliment engaging Illinois' massive alumni base. I feel right now that we are about equally average (given the expectations for each category) at engaging our alumni base and #1-3 above. Just by engaging alumni and doing #1 effectively, you already would have a bigger football fan base than Iowa. If you do #1 and #2 well, you are talking a program whose TV following likely keeps it safe in any conference reshuffling in 10 years or so. Obviously, if we ever did all of these even at a B- level or above, you are talking about a VERY large fan base.

Obviously that was a bit of a ramble, and people might not agree with my assumptions here. My personal guess is that by being about a B at engaging alumni, a B+ at #1, a C at #2 and a C- at #3, we end up with a football fan base that would have a "gross" total of fans somewhere between Iowa and Wisconsin, but our "active" fan base would be between a Maryland and an Iowa. Again, just total guesses.

Either way, I think all can agree there is room for improvement regardless of how high or low the ceiling is, and it will be essential to engage as many potential fans as possible in the next decade as conferences realign. At least IMO. While we might think our situation is difficult in some ways, we should be thankful we at least have this room to improve. There are only so many alumni a school like Northwestern or Wake Forest can engage, and there are only so many potential fan populations schools like Kansas State, Iowa State, Ole Miss, etc. can even tap into in the first place. Again, sorry for the rant, haha ... fan base size/geography/dynamics/etc. is one of my more obscure side obsessions.
The thing is, and I see evidence of this constantly and I think our football recruiting has reflected it, the pull of Illinois as the instate flagship school that people feel a connection with is much stronger in the city proper than the suburbs.

The suburbs are ground zero for ABI.
 
#24      

Illini92and96

Austin, TX

Because we often talk about University branding here, I thought I would repost this here.

The gist is that the University is pushing a hierarchy of branding: 1) Illinois; 2) U of I; 3) Urbana. Additionally, "UIUC" is being phased out.

I find it to be a puzzling move. I think UIUC is actually a very helpful acronym to have on hand. It is very unique, it can't be mistaken for another school. It is easy to say; I think UIUC comes off the tongue easier than U of I. I also recall using UIUC when Google-ing looking for specific university websites. I've heard younger generations use UIUC much more often than U of I. I just don't see why it was necessary to make this move.

Rather, I think the intent to use "Urbana" is kind of silly. Now, their intent is clearly to have a name that people use like "Berkeley," "Madison," "Austin," etc. But the problem is that 99% of students and alums and people in the State colloquially refer to the school/town as "Champaign." Expecting everyone to switch over to "Urbana" from "Champaign" overnight is a pretty lofty goal. If it works, then great. But this just sounds like something that sounds good in a Board room but just ever work out well in the real world.
I agree on the Urbana point, because from a branding thing you don't want to get to a third identifier if you can avoid it. It's Alabama or Bama. It's unequivocal if you say Illinois. What the heck is UIUC? University Indiana, Idaho, or Iowa somethin somethin?

You say Texas in the state and nationally and people know what that means. They don't call in UTA. Now the branch UT schools call themselves UTSA or UTEP. Same in other states.
 
#25      
The thing is, and I see evidence of this constantly and I think our football recruiting has reflected it, the pull of Illinois as the instate flagship school that people feel a connection with is much stronger in the city proper than the suburbs.

The suburbs are ground zero for ABI.
Interesting, thanks for sharing. Yeah, I have lived in Gold Coast and Roscoe Village, and I have been pleasantly surprised actually how prevalent Illini gear is, as I said in my edited post above. FWIW, my wife and I have a fun (if kind of weird, lol...) game where we have kept a note on my phone since we moved here of college gear we see. We obviously miss some, but it sounds harder than it is ... she'll text me while she's at work saying something like, "Saw a Michigan shirt in the cafeteria," and I'll mark it down. I obviously haven't totaled the denominator for percentages (I'm not THAT bored!), but through almost 5 years, this is the top 10...

Illinois - 271
Michigan - 115
Iowa - 108
Notre Dame - 88
Wisconsin - 81
Indiana - 67
Michigan State - 64
Northwestern - 57
Purdue - 49
Ohio State - 26

My friends claim I might have a bias to count more Illini shirts, but I honestly feel I am obsessed enough with finding what the true breakdown is that I record everything I can remember. :ROFLMAO:

** Fighter stops derailing the thread **
 
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