Black is the new neutral. At least when it comes to sports uniforms
A recent trend in uniforms in high schools, colleges and professional sports is using black as a neutral background with the team’s logo on it. A few teams at Oxford have done the same, creating an alternate uniform to the traditional blue and gold.
The boys basketball team is just one of the teams who have adopted black uniforms as an alternate. According to the boys basketball head coach Drew Tyler, the team chose to wear black uniforms for a few reasons.
“We first got our black uniforms in 2002,” Tyler said. “That year the Duke Blue Devils won a National Championship, and they had black uniforms.”
Another reason Tyler decided to go after the black uniforms was because the Oxford High School band had begun wearing black uniforms, and he appreciated the look. Plus, his team liked the idea of having black uniforms.
“The high-school uniform trend tends to follow college and professional teams and what they are doing,” Tyler said. “When the kids see that, that’s what they like.”
Like the basketball team, the cheerleading squad opted for black uniforms. Head cheer coach Nicole Roberson felt that the black uniforms were a “nice alternate” and accent to the traditional blue and gold.
“I decided to get them because I thought they looked nice,” Roberson said. “Plus they make the blue and gold really stand out.”
The latest Charger squad to add black jerseys to their locker is the baseball team.
“The kids have always asked me and Coach Rob about having the black uniforms,” head baseball coach Chris Baughman said. “Ever since band got black uniforms, then basketball and cheerleading got theirs approved, it was something our kids were excited about and it was something they wanted.”
Baughman also says it is a nice alternative to have, especially for baseball which has a series of games played consecutively.
“During the spring tournament, we as coaches have been here all night washing and washing and washing the uniforms, because we’ve only had two uniforms,” Baughman said. “Now it gives us the opportunity to not wash the uniforms as soon as we have had to, plus it just gives us an opportunity to look different. We still have the blue and gold on the chest and on the numbers. We also have the blue piping going down.”
Most of the people who like the black uniforms are members of the student body, many of whom are athletes.
“The black uniforms are a bit more exciting and bold,” junior cheerleader Cheyenne Griffin said. “It just helps our blue and gold stand out.”
Senior baseball player Sam Hunter agrees with Griffin.
“I think black just gives our uniforms a good kick,” Hunter said. “We’ve wanted them for years, and we feel like it gives us an intimidating look.”
Senior basketball player Justin Fondren and senior artist Kionna Belcher feel like the uniform give the teams a bit more “swagger” when playing.
That goes with Hunter’s theory.
“If you’re going to play well, why not look good doing it,” Hunter asked.
Although there are people who like the black, some feel it misrepresents Oxford. One of those people is Athletic Director Johnny Hill.
“Our colors are blue and gold,” Hill said. “You wouldn’t have green mixed with blue and gold or red, would you?”
Another person in opposition of the black uniforms is former Oxford principal Bill Hovious; who now subs regularly.
“Black ceases to be a neutral color when you have people in your division whose primary colors are black and something else,” Hovious said.
Tyler and Baughman disagree with that theory, however.
“White and gray aren’t our colors either,” Baughman said. “Why are they considered neutral colors and black not?”
“When we take white out of our uniforms because it’s not a school color then I’ll agree that black is not a neutral color,” Tyler said.