Athletics ditches royal blue

Roger Williams athletics is beginning to align with the university’s color changes, resulting in varsity sports needing new uniforms and repainted playing facilities like Bayside Field.

Tyger Allen, Herald Reporter

The mural inside the Recreation Center is loaded with images of athletes dating back to the first few years Roger Williams athletics began competing to just a few years before the current academic year. Some athletes are dressed in royal blue and white uniforms while others incorporate more of a gold accent color. An image of the football team wearing royal jerseys and gold helmets sits toward the bottom, reminding students of the history the school has with these colors.

The official university colors are seemingly unknown to those associated with the school due to the production of both navy and royal blue apparel, both of which are often matched with the gold accent. For some, the navy is more prominent as the official shade of blue because of how certain departments, such as Residence Life and Housing, use navy in their official apparel. However, others see royal as the official blue because each of the school’s varsity and club sports teams incorporate it into their uniforms.

After the upcoming spring semester, the royal blue will be discontinued in the university’s athletics department, with a few exceptions.

The reasoning behind the change is athletics wants to begin to unify itself with other university departments. Newer facilities, truck logos, department apparel, and new road signs around campus have ditched the royal for navy. The university has completed most of the color change, but remains divided in colors until athletics makes the switch to navy.

“It’s going to be a phase-in thing, because we just can’t get all new uniforms all in one year and change the signage,” said Director of Athletics Kiki Jacobs. “Right now, we’re not changing the logo. It’s just more moving away from the royal blue to more of a darker blue and rolling in some light blue, but we’ll still have the gold in there.”

The color change is not as simple as replacing the royal with navy on all the images. In order to make the full switch, athletics will have to make a change in their varsity and club sports’ uniforms.

The baseball team currently wears just royal and white, which will make for a rather small change when they receive their uniforms. The championship-winning women’s soccer team, however, hoisted the Commonwealth Coast Conference championship trophy in early November while wearing their white and gold-checkered jersey. This uniform, according to Jacobs, may have seen its last days on the field as the gold is going to strictly be for accenting only.

For the teams eligible for a uniform change, it is expected that they will have navy options before the next fall season begins.

After the three-year tenure of the official uniforms, teams are eligible for a reorder. The track and field team is one of the teams that fit this description this spring semester. They — alongside lacrosse and softball — are eligible for the uniform upgrade, but face a dilemma. The team can choose to wear new uniforms with the royal and remain out of the new color scheme for three years or wait out one more year with their current uniforms, then purchase new ones when the distributors incorporate navy and light blue.

Junior Sam Lugo is one of four track athletes put in charge of determining what colors and design the team will wear for the upcoming season.

“It’s annoying that they’re changing the colors now as a whole athletic department. It was originally planned that athletics was going to be separate [from the university colors] so we could determine the difference between the two,” Lugo said.

Due to the Division III status of the school, student-athletes at Roger Williams do not have their personal apparel paid for by the university. Winter coats with the individual athlete’s number or initials cost around $100, which comes straight out of the athlete’s pocket, and incorporate the royal blue into each article of clothing.

“It’s [frustrating] for the uniform part and our overall apparel because we’ve spent a lot of money on the apparel,” Lugo said. “We had to buy everything ourselves. All that stuff is basically going to be worth nothing because the colors aren’t going to match our school.”

One of the more notable changes to come in athletics is tearing up the turf on Bayside Field. As a new field is in the process of being unrolled, one thing has changed. The hawk at midfield displays the same shape as the previous logo, but this time in navy. Although it is not a drastic change, it marks the first step in changing athletics’ colors.

“We’re out there a lot and people are looking at our uniforms and our colors when we’re out there on the road,” Jacobs said. “We can help make more of a consistent brand with Roger Williams colors.”