South Dakota State is getting a makeover.
Sunday signaled the official start of the athletic department’s contract with Under Armour and the end of a five-year run with Nike. While that might not mean much to most, it’s a massive deal for longtime equipment manager Tim DeWitt.
For example, he received Friday some 130 boxes of football equipment. And that’s only a partial shipment. The total number will be closer to 200. Just for football.
Once the swag arrives, it’s got to be counted, sorted and assigned. Handing it out is the best part, DeWitt said, because the student-athletes usually have no idea what’s coming. Why? Most of the designs and logos were chosen in concert by DeWitt, the head coach and SDSU Under Armour rep Ryan Johnson working. (Related note, this video from Northwestern gives an idea of what goes into the design aspect at the major-conference level.)
“It’s like half Christmas and half birthday,” DeWitt said of doling out the gear.
While the old Nike deal wasn’t all encompassing, the Under Armour contract is – every SDSU team will wear that brand of game uniform. (That is, provided UA produces equipment for that sport. For example, equestrian is an exception.)
The Jacks have two years to make the full transition. Each of the 21 varsity sports will get some UA gear in 2012-13 even if it’s just training shoes or travel suits. Football (two uniforms) and men’s and women’s basketball (three uniforms) are required to be all Under Armour right away. The runners will have to wait in part because UA doesn’t make all the necessary equipment yet for that sport.
That might be a good thing for DeWitt and Co.
“This is a very massive project,” he said, “that takes a lot of people to do the work.”
Terry Vandrovec also posts regular updates on his Twitter page.